Author: Anne Laurel Carter
Genre: Middle School Fiction
Source: My middle school library. This book was recommended by Junior Library Guild.
I participate in a once a month Book Review Club, so I was going through my stack of books wondering which one I wanted to talk about for May. I just posted about a mother wanting to label YA books in her Florida public library so censorship was really on my mind. Then another article popped into my mailbox the other day about, The Shepherd's Granddaughter. I recognized the book instantly because when I was processing it I noted that it looked like one that I would like to read. After reading the article about this book being pulled from the shelves of Toronto school libraries I knew that I had found my book for the month.
Quoted from article: But Toronto District School Board trustee Sheila Ward is demanding that the book, about Israeli settlers attacking a young Palestinian shepherd girl and her family, be banned from library shelves. B’nai Brith Canada is also calling for its removal from all school reading lists, and the Canadian-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is cautioning against the title.
Click here for the article in full....trust me you do want to read this.
When I finished this book I couldn't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to remove it from libraries. This book does not make Israeli's out to be evil people, but it does bring to light some of the issues that Palestinian's live with on a daily basis. I feel that this book is important because it gives notice to both sides of the story and portrays each side in favorable and unfavorable lights. Yes, Israeli's are portrayed, at times, as tyrants pushing their way into the lands occupied by Palestinians. But then the author shows how some Palestinian's want to react with violence and threats. We all know that this way of dealing with conflict can not continue, but how do you stop it??? Well, it sure as hell isn't by censoring and removing books that certain groups of people take issue with. We start by educating our children and showing them that violence, no matter which side of the fence you're on, is not the answer. And hope and pray that this new generation of humans will somehow bridge this cultural difference. Will it happen? I don't know, this conflict is ancient, but I do know that we need to have honest, thoughtful discussions about the issues. I for one will be talking about this book to the students at my school that I feel will appreciate the story within the covers and be smart enough to start asking questions, investigate, and make an informed decision about how they feel in regards to this situation. I urge you, the reader, to pick this book up and make that decision for yourself...should we allow groups who don't like that another point of view (other than theirs) is being brought to light and they want to stop you from questioning the information that you've gathered from the nightly news, newspaper, magazine, and the internet get away with censorship?????? Regardless of where you stand on this issue, this book deserves to be on the shelves of libraries worldwide. I am one librarian who will make sure that the copy at my middle school is never pulled from circulation.
Links that I found interesting:
Number of Palestinian children killed
Facts about Palestine
Facts about Jerusalem
The Gaza Crisis
UK Guardian article on why soldier was justified killing 13 year-old girl
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