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Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak

by Deborah Ellis

Published by Groundwood / Douglas & McIntyre, 2004
110 pages
ISBN: 0888995547

Ages 12-18

In her introduction to this affecting collection of interviews with Palestinian and Israeli children, Deborah Ellis writes: “The war in the Middle East has been going on for so long…that it often seems it will continue forever. But war, like almost everything else humans do, is a choice…The children in this book talk about how the choices other people have made have affected their lives. The history of the area and its people is a weight that has been placed, none too gently, on their shoulders.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the interviews that follow are more disheartening than heartening as they reveal what war and living under the threat of violence has done to many—at least many of these—children and young adults. Their ability to extend compassion and understanding to others has been compromised by the lack of compassion and understanding they feel in their own lives living under oppression (for some) and the constant threat of violence (for all). They are achingly childlike and familiar in the likes and dislikes that all children can speak to with passion: food, colors, brothers and sisters. But many also speak passionately about those they see as the enemy: tragically, it’s one another. Not every child is bitter, a few are dispassionate, and some hold onto idealism despite all they’ve seen and heard. Ellis ends with one such young adult, an 18-year-old Israeli peace activist whose idealism is tempered with pragmatism: “We will make our own peace, just as we have made our own war.” It’s a hopeful ending to a painful, honest examination of one part of the cost of the conflict in the Middle East. CCBC categories: Understanding Oneself and Others.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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