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City Boy

by Jan Michael

Published by U.S. edition: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
188 pages
ISBN: 978-0-547-22310-0

Ages 10 - 13

After Samís mother dies of AIDS, Samís grief is compounded by culture shock when he goes to live with his auntís family in the small Malawi village where his mother grew up. He and his mother had lived in the city, where he attended private school and lacked nothing, from the latest computer game to fancy running shoes. Those shoes, and the few books he brought with him, become a symbol of his difficulty adapting to village life. Samís cousins and the other boy who lives with his aunt are fascinated by Samís things. Sam does not want to share, but in his auntís spare home sharing is a way of life. His aunt is loving, firm, and clear on her expectations for Sam as his painful struggle to fit in is complicated by his sense of loss and sadness. Samís changing living situation and the details surrounding it, from the AIDS crisis to the contrast between urban and rural living, are made accessible and understandable for readers in this affecting story. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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