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Samir and Yonatan Paperback – November 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Sky Press; Reprint edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439135230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439135238
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A Palestinian boy comes to terms with his younger brother's death in this slow-paced but moving novel originally published in Hebrew in 1994. In homage to the bravery of his brother Fadi, who was killed by an Israeli soldier, Samir shatters his kneebone in a daredevil bicycle feat. Consequently, he must undergo a special operation at the "Jews' hospital." Samir's fever plus the sealing off of territories keeps the boy hospitalized for several weeks in a ward with four Israeli children, including Yonatan, a boy with a hand in an "iron contraption" and a head in the clouds. The author simultaneously and effectively sketches the understated friendship that develops between the pair ("Together we're two boys with three legs and three hands," says Yonatan) and uses flashbacks to reveal the details of Samir's life in the occupied West Bank, including the effect of his brother's death on his family. Some readers may find the book's climax troubling: Samir, while playing a computer game with Yonatan in which he creates a new planet where "everything is possible," comes to believe that Fadi died because "he didn't have anything to carry on with." However, the book's understated tone and detailed character development prevent its message from becoming obvious or heavyhanded. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-Riding his bicycle down the market steps, a young Palestinian falls and smashes his knee so badly that he needs surgery. For the first time in his life, Samir leaves his home in the Occupied Territories to go to a Jewish hospital where an American doctor will operate on him. While waiting for the procedure, Samir gets to know the other children on his ward, all Jews. Beautiful Ludmilla is pining away for her home in Russia and refusing to eat. Razia hides under her bed in fear of her father. Hyperactive Tzahi can't urinate properly and, most importantly, Yonatan with the crippled arm introduces Samir to the stars, computer games, and the way imagination can take one away from a place of pain. As Samir thinks about the home he misses, details of his family life are revealed. Readers learn that his younger brother was killed, shot while playing in the street by a man wearing the same uniform that Tzahi's brother wears when he visits. His older brother has gone to Kuwait to earn money and his mother works two jobs. His father has stopped talking. As the hospitalized children spend time together, they come to support one another, forming a team that crosses cultural boundaries. Samir and Yonatan take an illegal night outing to commandeer an office computer to play a game. Life in the hospital is described as clearly as life in the Occupied Territories and readers will sympathize with Samir's fear and loneliness and welcome his new friendships. Written in Hebrew but published first in Germany, the book is smoothly translated and will have wide appeal.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sandy807 VINE VOICE on July 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book to my adolescent daughters to increase their awareness of the conflict in the Holy Land. The entire story takes place in an Israeli hospital, where Samir is the only Palestinian boy in the children's ward. As he waits for his operation to be performed by an American doctor, he observes the funny antics, the emotional traumas and the interactions of the other children in the room. Although the story deals with a serious subject... Samir reflects on the difficulties his family is going through due to his brother's death in the streets, and the chaos, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian fighting... there are many light moments that had us laughing. As the book progresses towards the end though, it becomes more serious as the children deal with their individual problems. Although we were losing our enthusiasm for the story as the funny parts faded, Yonatan takes Samir on a "trip to Mars" where there is some interesting, poetical imagery, and the story ends in a hopeful, upbeat mood.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Adelaide M. Phelps on May 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Samir is a Palestinian boy who finds himself in a children's ward of an Israeli hospital. Injured in a childish accident that could have happened to any child anywhere, Samir awaits surgery to repair a shattered knee. In the interim, the author, Daniella Carmi, reveals aspects of each of the children's lives that connect them to each other. Momentary bonds form as vulnerability is exposed and spaces of safety are identified. Sometimes these spaces are tangible, like wrapped in a blanket or under a bed. Other times they are places in the mind where the familiarity of certain foods and family bring comfort. The character of Yonatan, an Israeli boy, whose father is an astronomer, brings these spaces together when he invites Samir to take a trip to Mars with him. It is on this trip that Samir realizes the potential for creating a space that is safe for all people.
Daniella Carmi's story provides insight into many aspects of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and points to children as the hope for resolution. The only drawback is that girls in the story are stereotypically portrayed as fearful and delicate: Razia hides under her bed to avoid seeing her father; Ludmilla wears her princess slippers. Nevertheless, the story is captivating and the characters believable.
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Format: Paperback
When Palestinian boy Samir breaks his knee, he must stay in a Jewish hospital for a special surgery. There, he faces his fears of Israelis and make a new friend. This is a cute story with the we're-not-so-different-after-all moral. Although it may resonate more strongly with the Israeli kids for whom it was originally written, its translation is a good addition to English-language children's literature as well. It was enjoyable and cute, and has a moral that every child in the world can benefit from.
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