Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The seated child. With a single powerful image, Deborah Ellis draws our attention to nine children and the situations they find themselves in, often through no fault of their own. In each story, a child makes a decision and takes action, be that a tiny gesture or a life-altering choice.
Jafar is a child laborer in a chair factory and longs to go to school. Sue sits on a swing as she and her brother wait to have a supervised visit with their father at the children’s aid society. Gretchen considers the lives of concentration camp victims during a school tour of Auschwitz. Mike survives seventy-two days of solitary as a young offender. Barry squirms on a food court chair as his parents tell him that they are separating. Macie sits on a too-small time-out chair while her mother receives visitors for tea. Noosala crouches in a fetid, crowded apartment in Uzbekistan, waiting for an unscrupulous refugee smuggler to decide her fate.
These children find the courage to face their situations in ways large and small, in this eloquent collection from a master storyteller.
I have struggled the last few days as I’ve tried to come up with my review for this book. It was not a bad collection of stories. Quite the contrary actually; they were full of emotion and really grabbed my attention. But they were dark. And the majority of the adults within the stories struck me as being angry. Really angry.
When I initially picked up this collection, I was under the impression it was for young readers. After finishing it and experiencing the range of topics between the covers, I’d recommend it for slightly older readers; perhaps middle grade to adult. There are some tough topics within these stories, mostly alluded to as opposed to explicitly stated, but there nonetheless.
All of that being said, each story felt like it ended with a sense of hope. I appreciated that aspect, as it felt like a good balance to the negative feeling the adults of each story left me with. Ultimately, I would say this is a good choice for someone seeking a poignant reading experience, a set of stories that will really elicit an emotional response.
Book stats: Hardcover, 128 pages, Groundwood Books, October 2, 2017