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Three wishes : Palestinian and Israeli children speak
2004
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Summary
Deborah Ellis's enormously popular Breadwinner trilogy recounted the experiences of children living in Afghanistan; now Ellis turns her attention to the young people of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After visiting the region to conduct interviews, she presents their stories here in their own words. Twelve-year-old Nora, eleven-year-old Mohammad, and many others speak directly about their lives -- which prove to be both ordinary and extraordinary: They argue with their siblings. They hate spinach. They have wishes for the future. Yet they have also seen their homes destroyed and families killed, and live amidst constant upheaval and violence.

This simple, telling book allows young readers everywhere to see that the children caught in this conflict are just like them - but living far more difficult and dangerous lives. Without taking sides, it presents an unblinking portrait of children victimized by the endless struggle around them.
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School Library Journal Review
Gr 7-9-This collection of accounts from young people between the ages of 8 and 18 portrays the sapping toll of war on their lives. Instead of looking toward their futures, these kids are watching their backs. Instead of playing games of pick-up ball in the street, they're lobbing rocks at soldier's and dodging tear gas and bullets. Israeli students are pressed into military service. In Palestine, the scanty settlements are overcrowded and unsafe. Each narrative is prefaced with a short historical or personal background description providing a point of reference for the sentiments expressed. Ellis effectively remains absent, serving as chronicler for these ordinary kids in traumatic circumstances who are tinged by varying degrees of anger and despair. One Palestinian student, 11, states: "I don't know any Israeli children. I don't want to know any. They hate me, and I hate them." Another child comments: "If I had three wishes I would become a doctor and I would be famous, maybe as a writer. And I would be able to walk." And another individual says that she has just one wish: "I want the war to end, so I can keep living in Israel and raise my children here." Average-quality, black-and-white photos of the narrators and of scenes in Ramallah and elsewhere are included. It's a wonder these children have any wishes at all. An excellent presentation of a confusing historic struggle, told within a palpable, perceptive and empathetic format.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Gr. 5-12. They murdered my friend. Growing up separate and apart in a world of bombs, bullets, removals, checkpoints, and curfews, 20 Israeli and Palestinian young people talk about how the war has affected them. The author of Parvana's Journey (2002) and other novels about children in Afghanistan moves to nonfiction with 20 stirring first-person narratives by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim young people she interviewed in 2002. An accessible historical overview that is fair to all sides leads off, followed by brief individual profiles of the kids, which include a small photo, and the words of kids, who are traumatized, angry, hopeful, hateful, despairing, brave. The wide range of voices shows the connections between warring neighbors despite the distances that separate them, and the personal details reveal the universals (I just want to ride horses ) in a moving way. Even the grimmest stories have a glimmer of hope, as in the account of a Palestinian girl whose Israeli and Palestinian friends return again and again to help rebuild her house, which is repeatedly bulldozed by soldiers. The specifics and the passionate immediacy of the voices will spark discussion on the Middle East and on civilians in war. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist
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