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My Birthday Is September Eleven and Other Short Stories Paperback – Large Print, September 4, 2011
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About the Author
Nicole weaver was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti. She came to the United States when she was ten years old. She is fluent in Creole, French, Spanish and English. She is a veteran teacher of French and Spanish. Her second children's trilingual book titled: My Sister is My Best Friend will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is also the author of a children's trilingual picture book titled : Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle. The story is about a Haitian little girl who resided by the beach in Haiti.
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The next story is called Zebra Boy. A twelve year old boy named Pascal Beauchamp is originally from Haiti. His mother was black and his father was white. Because of this, children at school would tease him, calling him names that would hurt him. Pascal's good friend, Marcel, would stick up for him, but the bully Eric still wouldn't stop. He wasn't alone either. Other children would tease Pascal too, but one day that all changed.
The third story is called The Good Samaritan. This is a touching story which tells of a mans kindness in helping a little girl named Marisol. She had to have brain surgery, so the children of her school helped raise the money for her to get the surgery. However, they were still short $15,000 until a stranger donated the money giving Marisol the chance to live. Will she one day be able to thank the man who saved her life?
The fourth story is called No More Hunger. It is about a boy named Ronald who is from a village that had been wiped out by a devastating hurricane. His mother, not being able to take care of him, gave him up for adoption. Though it broke her heart to do it, she knew it was the right thing to do. Her sacrifice gave him a chance at life. Will Ronald ever understand?
The last story is called A New Life. This is about a biracial boy who experiences many hardships. Jonny's parents passed away when he was young and his German grandparent's didn't want anything to do with him, which put him into foster care for years. This was a mixed blessing because his foster parent's had adored him, treating him as if he were their own son, yet he still had many uncertainties. Will he ever forgive his grandparent's for not taking him in?
This collection of stories hits upon many topics. It touches on adoption, bullying, tragedy, coping with loss, kindness and love. What readers are going to enjoy about this collection is that with the bad comes the good. Though each story begins with something tragic that happens that changes or effects the characters life in some way, there is also something rewarding about it as well, as if it were redemption for the pain each has suffered. Each character finds happiness in their own way and it radiates around them affecting others lives as well. It shows the reader that kindness can change someone's fate.
While touching on these topics, this collection for middle and teen readers shares the common theme of being stories about children dealing with real life struggles, and how kindness and empathy can turn someone's life around for the better.
Here's a quick breakdown of the stories:
* "My Birthday is September Eleven" - The title story of the collection is about a boy who was born on 9/11/01 and finds it hard to celebrate his birthday because of the tragic events of that day.
* "Zebra Boy" - A bi-racial boy stands up to a bully because of the support from his best friend.
* "The Good Samaritan" - An anonymous donor contributes the money necessary to help a group of fifth-graders pay for a life-saving surgery for a classmate.
* "No More Hunger" - Ronald becomes impoverished after a devastating hurricane destroys his village in Haiti. Unable to survive on his own, he is rescued from certain death by a kind stranger.
* "A New Life" - A bi-racial boy finally escapes a difficult past when he is adopted by a caring couple.
The stories are well-written and can be useful for inspiring an excellent discussion between middle and teen readers and their parents and teachers.
As I read the stories, I kept thinking of Gandhi's quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." I think these stories hold that kind of potential for young readers. They may be inspired to make a positive difference in someone's life by either contributing financially to a cause, showing empathy for others or even standing up beside someone being treated unjustly.
Lessons learned from the stories are far-reaching. Such as that the way we begin our lives in not always how we are destined to lead them. These stories show how we are all socially connected to the world at large even though we may physically be far away. Sharing these stories with your children will open their minds and hearts to living and thinking beyond themselves.
By having the characters come from many different walks of life, this book will appeal to a wide variety of juvenile and older readers. As the U.S. has always been a diverse blend of peoples, cultures and languages, this book reflects that diversity showing that what we may consider different is actually familiar.
I gave the book 4 stars because some of the stories read a little like the biographies of famous people condensed for children to read in that they spanned many years or decades in a short period of time; and the main character goes beyond the childhood stage sometimes making it less relatable to the target audience, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.