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Words on fire
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Audra lives on a quiet farm in Lithuania, but she understands that danger is never far away. Her parents warn her to stay close to home and avoid the patrolling Russian Cossack soldiers. The Russians, who occupy Lithuania, insist that everyone there must become Russianthey have banned Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language. When Cossacks arrive abruptly at their door, Audras parents insist that she flee, taking with her an important package and instructions for where to deliver it. In hopes of rescuing her parents, she becomes caught up in a growing resistance movement, Lithuanians intent on preserving their language, history, and culture. She will become...a Carrier.
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Booklist Review
Set in the 1890s, this compelling and thoughtful novel examines pre-Soviet Russia's occupation of Lithuania. By order of the tsar, all Lithuanians must assimilate into Russian culture because as far as the tsar is concerned, Lithuania has ceased to exist, along with its books, traditions, schools, culture, and language. The people of Lithuania, however, are not going to give up without a fight; indeed, uprisings are nearly a historical tradition. Audra, 12, knows little about this, because her parents have sheltered her from their activities. One night, everything changes when the Cossacks come to the door to arrest her parents for book smuggling. Audra flees with a package to deliver and finds herself abruptly involved in the world of book smuggling. At first terrified and tempted to try to trade information for her parents' safety, Audra commits herself fiercely to the cause. Her transformation from a shy, retiring child to a courageous and creative young woman as she employs her father's magic tricks to help her work is marvelous to see. She is surrounded with complex and well-rounded characters, including the ""big bad"" Officer Rusakov, and the plot is gripping and moves swiftly. Audra's story deserves a place on the shelf next to Lois Lowry's Number the Stars and Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief.--Donna Scanlon Copyright 2010 Booklist
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