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Secrets in the Fire
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About the Author

Henning Mankell is one of Sweden's best-selling authors. His works for children have earned him several awards, including the prestigious "Astrid Lindgren Prize." Secrets in the Fire won the "2002 Sankei Children's Publishing Culture Award." Anne Connie Stuksrud has published two short-story collections for young adults and is currently working on her third book.

Reviews

Gr 6-9-A hard-hitting, eye-opening novel that brings readers face-to-face with the horrors of war. Although a work of fiction, it is based on the real-life experiences of Sofia Alface, a friend of the author. The story takes place in Mozambique, which is in the midst of a civil war (1975-1992). One night, most of the village population, including Sofia's father, are murdered by ax-wielding bandits. Sofia, her sister Maria, her mother, and her brother survive the attack and travel by foot to a faraway village. Just as they seem to be recovering from the trauma, disaster strikes again. Maria and Sofia are playing on a path when Sofia steps on a landmine. In that second, life is altered permanently. Maria dies, and Sofia loses both legs. This is one child's story of survival, strength, determination, and triumph. Through it, readers come to understand what happens to survivors of landmine accidents-physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Mankell's language and style are spare, but elicit a deeply emotional response. An appended "Message from Adopt-A-Minefield" gives facts and statistics, as well as the mission of the organization and how readers can help. This outstanding book has been adapted for film, and Sofia's inspirational story is continued in a second book, Playing with Fire, currently published in Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2002).-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Starred review: This docu-novel will grab readers with the truth of one child's terror and courage. -- Hazel Rochman "Booklist / RBB" (12/15/2003) Starred Review: A hard-hitting, eye-opening novel that brings readers face-to-face with the horrors of war... outstanding book. -- Mary N. Oluonye "School Library Journal" (05/01/2005) [Starred review:] This docu-novel will grab readers with the truth of one child's terror and courage. -- Hazel Rochman "Booklist / RBB" (12/15/2003) [Starred Review:] A hard-hitting, eye-opening novel that brings readers face-to-face with the horrors of war... outstanding book. -- Mary N. Oluonye "School Library Journal" (05/01/2005) [Starred review: ] This docu-novel will grab readers with the truth of one child's terror and courage.--Hazel Rochman"Booklist / RBB" (12/15/2003) Shocking story... It speaks more openly, however, to the landmine issue... compelling enough to hold a high school student's attention.--Lucy Schall"VOYA" (02/01/2004) [Starred review: ] Dramatizes the landmine horror, especially its devastating toll on children... this docu-novel will grab readers with the truth of one child's terror and courage.--Hazel Rochman"Booklist / RBB" (12/15/2003) This shocking story depicts young people facing brutal violence. It speaks more openly, however, to the landmine issue, and its direct statements sometimes undercut horrific details simple enough for a middle school student to understand and compelling enough to hold a high school student's attention.--Lucy Schall"VOYA" (02/01/2004) [Starred Review: ] A hard-hitting, eye-opening novel that brings readers face-to-face with the horrors of war... outstanding book.--Mary N. Oluonye"School Library Journal" (05/01/2005) Suspenseful novel... a dramatic portrait of loyalty and loss, hope and courage that will touch readers of any age.--Sandy Naiman"Toronto Sun" (07/03/2005)

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