Deborah Ellis book causing controversy in Canada.
From The Toronto Star:
A book for kids about conflict in the Middle East is creating a conflict of its own in York Region, as the public school board and Canadian Jewish Congress clash with the Ontario Library Association over what's appropriate reading for 9- to 11-year-olds.
The specific issue is stated later:
A Feb. 8 letter to the library association from the congress outlines 17 passages from Three Wishes that it suggests are inappropriate because the book doesn't provide enough context or detail. The letter says the book portrays Israelis as "brutal occupiers," and Palestinians as "murderers who are so intent on killing Israelis that they are prepared to blow themselves to shreds."
But according to the School Library Journal review:
Each narrative is prefaced with a short historical or personal background description providing a point of reference for the sentiments expressed...An excellent presentation of a confusing historic struggle, told within a palpable, perceptive and empathetic format.
An accessible historical overview that is fair to all sides leads off, followed by brief individual profiles of the kids, which include a small photo, and the words of kids, who are traumatized, angry, hopeful, hateful, despairing, brave. The wide range of voices shows the connections between warring neighbors despite the distances that separate them, and the personal details reveal the universals ("I just want to ride horses") in a moving way.
However, the SLJ review recommends the book for grades 7-9, while Booklist (who gave it a starred review) recommends it for grades 5-12. Regardless of anything else, though, it comes down to this: The Canadian Jewish Congress is not the boss of the Ontario Library Council. The CJC can't just veto Silver Birch Award finalists. Go get your own book award, guys.