About this book
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.
“We would make perfect murderers,” said Sanu, who was one year older than Jafar...
“What are you talking about?” Jafar asked.
Sanu held up his hands and wiggled his fingers.
“No fingerprints!” he said, laughing.
They could laugh now, but when Jafar first started sanding, his fingers got so sore and bloody!
“Get one more drop of blood on one of my chairs, you little cockroach, and I’ll send you back to your family in a garbage sack!” Boss had yelled at him.
Oak Street was not the busiest street in town, but lots of people still walked down it, and they all looked at Bea, sitting by herself on a bench in the middle of a school day.
Bea didn’t worry about the old ladies. She had sat on this bench before on her days off and the old ladies left her alone...
The dangerous ones were the yoga ladies...
The yoga ladies were busybodies.
Mike hears the outer door of the Administrative Segregation pod shut and lock. He is all alone...
His eyes are wiped and his face is dry by the time he hears the Ag Seg door unlock again and the peep-hole covering in his own door slide open.
“You all right in there, 75293?”
Mike knows the voice of CO Jenson.
It is the voice of the devil.
About the Author
DEBORAH ELLIS is the author of more than two dozen books, including The Breadwinner, which has been published in twenty-five languages and was recently adapted into a feature-length animated film and a graphic novel. She has won the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Middle East Book Award, the Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She has received the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement, and she has been named to the Order of Canada. She has donated almost $2 million in royalties to organizations such as Women for Women in Afghanistan, UNICEF and Street Kids International.
Awards and Praise
- Short-listed MYRCA Northern Lights, 2019
- Short-listed Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award, 2018