- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (December 24, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064402371
- ISBN-13: 978-0064402378
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story Paperback – December 24, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
A sister and brother's journey through Johannesburg to find their mother becomes an awakening to the sufferings of the people living under the system of apartheid. Ages 9-12.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“A provocative, eloquent story about the human spirit.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This well-written [story] has no equal. Evocative and haunting.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
Showing 1-8 of 26 reviews
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I was introduced to this book through the International Children's Literature course I'm taking this semester. It's a wonderful class providing me with many opportunities to read books published in other countries in order to learn more about the people who live in those countries which is something all us self-centered Americans need to do. For American children, this may be one of the only books out there describing what life is like for non-whites in a country outside the United States.
I really liked this story, it was published in 1986 and in the wake of Nelson Mandela's death last year it can definitely be classified now under historical fiction as most realistic fiction being published today contains too many graphic details while this book is refreshingly innocent and full of hope in a country divided by apartheid. The characters are real and they deal with their problems in a realistic way. Their dialogue is also sprinkled with words from their own native language so the reader can better understand this culture.
The 3rd person narrative allows the reader to share the exciting journey about a thirteen year old big sister and her little brother. They decide to travel to the city of Johannesburg, South Africa in search of their mother who works for a rich white family because their baby sister is deathly ill. The village hospital could provide the proper care and treatment but their family is very poor and "Mma" (mother in the Tswana language) is the family's only source of income since their father died in a mine accident. The children are incredibly lucky as they are helped by strangers along the way and by the end of the story; both have realized they live in a white supremacy world where the tide is beginning to turn regarding the injustices against their people.
The book is short, only 75 pages, but you'll wish it was longer. Because of its length I would recommend giving this book to a reluctant reader interested in what life is like for children in other countries. This is a well written story appropriate for all upper-grade readers and adults. The black and white illustrations are a nice supplement and the map at the front and glossary in the back explaining the foreign words spoken by the characters make this book an excellent example of international children's literature.
In reading this book, I really got involved with the story. I really did not know what I was getting into but I am glad I did decide to read it .. not only to help my daughter but I got something out of it as well. I hate reading about racial segregation and the mistreating of others because color/race should never matter. I would recommend this book to anyone. It is really great to read!