Janette Rallison is one of my favorite authors. My wish might be to have written her Just One Wish. Annika's 6-year-old brother has a cancerous brain tumor, and all he wants is a Robin Hood action figure-- or so she thinks. When she promises a wish, he wishes to meet Robin Hood in person, setting Annika off on an ill-conceived road trip to get the actor and bring him home with her before her brother goes into surgery. Far-fetched, but believably written. So this wouldn't happen in real life-- isn't that the point of reading fiction? All of the characters are likeable despite flaws and convincingly written. I especially appreciated the realistic ending. Rallison certainly took plenty of notes about her own teen age years and has used this information to advantage!
Our 8th graders are doing a Holocaust unit, so I am always struggling to keep enough books on hand. Monique Polak's What World is Left was very like my favorite, Marietta Moskin's 1972 I Am Rosemarie. Anneke and her family are taken to Theresienstadt from their home in Holland. This was a "model" camp, and the family is treated better than most, because the father is an artist who agrees to do propagandistic paintings for the Nazis. Still, conditions are inhuman. This is based on the experiences of the author's mother. I was enthralled, as many of my students are, and it made me wonder about the appeal of Holocaust fiction. I think that books like this, where the person's happy, normal past is contrasted against the horrors of the concentration camps makes us stop and think about what we would do in similar circumstances. How strong would we be? Would we survive? Books like this make us stop and think about so many things. Even though this is only in paperback or prebind, I'm definitely getting a couple more copies.
Coming Monday: An interview with Kevin Emerson, of Oliver Nocturne fame, to celebrate the publication of his fifth book, The Eternal Tomb.