cover image SHATTERED: Stories of Children and War

SHATTERED: Stories of Children and War

Jennifer Armstrong, Editor . Knopf $15.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-375-81112-8

Twelve thought-provoking stories by as many writers cover a wide range of settings and conflicts. Joseph Bruchac, for example, describes a Native American teen's experience fighting for the Union in the Civil War, and Gloria Miklowitz chronicles a Jewish boy's arrival in Palestine shortly after WWII. Not all of the battlefields are literal: one of the most touching entries, "Things Happen" by Lisa Rowe Fraustino, concerns a girl who helps hide a draft dodger during Vietnam. Others are especially timely; in "Faizabad Harvest, 1980" by Suzanne Fisher Staples, an Afghani girl tells about the Soviet destruction of her village. There is no real pattern to the sequencing; readers may find it jarring, which may have been Armstrong's (The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan) intention ("People... are trying to kill you. Does it matter who they are?" she asks in her introduction). Other aspects of the book may be controversial, as in the lack of challenge to Ibtisam Barakat's understandably biased explanation, in an author's note, of the events leading to the 1967 Six-Day War (her story describes her family's terrifying flight from Israeli forces during that conflict). A single line of text runs below each story, supplying facts; while difficult to navigate, these lines lend context and stimulate new insights. Overall, this is a diverse and varied collection. Ages 9-12. (Feb.)