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Samir and Yonatan

by Daniella Carmi
Translated by Yael Lotan

Published by U.S. edition: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2000
183 pages
ISBN: 0-439-13504-4

Age 12 and older

A richly told, deeply felt story about the friendship that forms between a young Palestinian and a Israeli Jewish boy who meet in a Jerusalem hospital. Samir is waiting for American doctors to operate on his broken leg. Isolated from his family, who cannot make the trip each day from their village. Samir feels alone and at odds with the four Jewish children--two boys and two girls--with whom he shares a room. To him, they represent those responsible for his brother's death. Through the long, slow days and nights, Samir begins to see that each of his roommates has her or his own fears and difficulties, and that one of them, Yonatan, is making an effort to be friends. Though unsure why he's been singled out, Samir makes the decision to trust Yonatan, and his world expands in ways he could never have imagined. Yonatan introduces him to the literal universe of planets, stars, and galaxies. He also introduces Samir to the universe of the imagination, where Yonatan escapes when he is tired of the real world. There is not much physical action in this book about relationships and feelings, but much is transcended when the children are able to forget about where they come from and meet one another on the common ground of childhood. CCBC categories: Fiction for Young Adults; Understanding Oneself and Others; Contemporary People, Places, and Events.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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