In a world in which the president tests the boundaries of his power daily, in which scapegoating and hating the "Other" is again in vogue, Internment should be mandatory reading. The chilling effect of the book's beginning, a list of events, some of which have happened and some have not, is to remind us how easily history can repeat. In this horrific near future, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin, her parents, and all Muslims have been placed in an internment camp. Resistance is certainly dangerous, possibly futile and those inside wrestle with the right course of action. Internment is a powerful reminder of the human cost of silence in the face of unchecked power.
This beautifully illustrated celebration of all that makes father/daughter relationships powerful also incorporates a vision of our neighborhoods that includes so many who do not often see their world reflected in the pages of books. This is for all those fathers who show their love in ways not typically seen in the pages of a book, and for all those daughters who recognize and cherish those acts of love.
Books like this will make our schools kind - not again, but for the first time. Nova is a twelve-year-old space geek who is autistic and has a very difficult time communicating all the wonder that is occuring inside of her to anyone other than her older sister Bridget. The foster care system has been difficult for the girls, but Bridget promised that they would always be together. Even if they were separated, she promised to come back for Nova. The sisters dream of the freedom of space travel and the pending launch of space shuttle Challenger, with a teacher-turned-astronaut on board, makes all their dreams seem possible. But then Bridget goes missing. Nova knows Bridget will be back to watch the launch together, but as it gets closer and Nova becomes more comfortable with her new family, doubt, anger, and fear assault Nova's tenuous balance. Put this with Out of My Mind and Rain, Reign, and make it required reading in every elementary school.
Submerge yourself in this book - in the incredible art, in the mysterious story - and then allow yourself to search for meaning. I would suggest, though, that that search not be for the hard and fast, but rather for something elusive and foggy, like the departure from childhood.
Step into the world of Nisha, a twelve-year old girl living with her twin brother, her father, her grandmother, and Kazi, their cook. It is 1947, the colonialist British rule is finally ending, and the religious factions within her country are tearing Nisha's world apart. In a series of entries written to her mother who died in childbirth, Nisha contends with the difficulties of a twelve-year old until the partition forces her family to leave their home and separate from those who are now deemed too different to live with. The journey is dangerous, deadly, and reveals once again the human cost of conflict and hatred. Sadly, this is timely and a powerful way to talk to our kids about what is happening now.