Reach And Teach is honored to announce that Abe in Arms, a YA novel by Pegi Deitz Shea, has been nominated for the 2010 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Award. It was nominated in the young adult fiction category and between now and January 1st judges will be reviewing all nominated titles and come up with a short list for finalists. Information about the awards can be found at www.cybils.com.
Click here to buy the book.
About Abe in Arms
This contemporary young adult novel portrays the pressures of teens to live a normal life, let alone succeed at high levels; while facing mental illness and--in Abe's case--a past that no one could possibly understand--or survive.
A senior in high school, Abe's got a Division I track scholarship awaiting him, a hot girlfriend, and a loving and wealthy adoptive family, including a brother his age. But suddenly, horrific flashbacks and seizures rip him back five years ago to war-torn Africa, where he lost his mother, his sister, his friends, and almost his own life to torturous violence. In therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Abe uncovers even darker moments that make him question why he's still alive.
Pegi Deitz Shea has written a suspenseful, action-filled book that will open teens' eyes and hearts to the lives of young people exposed to violence around the world.
Click here to view excerpts from Abe in Arms and see lesson plans and other resources.
Abe in Arms is powerful and vivid, a moving exploration of the after effects of severe childhood trauma. Readers will come to care deeply about Abe as he struggles to overcome the emotional consequences of surviving the brutal life of a child soldier.--Sharon McClintock, Children's Librarian - City of Mountain View Public Library
"Written in straightforward prose, Abe In Arms hooks you on and pulls you deep into the past. It tells the story of Abe as he sorts through his war torn past. Abe struggles with the juxtaposition of the past and the present, Liberia and the US, a militant rebel and a loving family. I found myself rooting for Abe, both on and off the track - Cheering when he succeeds and disheartened as he falters."--Jeremy Mineau, PAC10 and NCAA Championship Runner - University of Washington Huskies
"Pegi Shea’s book, Abe in Arms, although fictional in nature, could have been true for any number of young boys in West Africa whose lives were devastated by conscription into the rebel army through force, threats, manipulation, bribery, and drugs. As a counselor and member of a trauma team who went to Liberia to teach counseling skills to civic and religious leaders following their civil war, I found it very heart breaking to witness the long term effects of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome upon the young boys, often no more than 11-14 years of age. Although there is a nation-wide effort in Liberia to rehabilitate these young boys, many require extensive mental health treatment and the prognoses are often disappointing. In her book, Pegi Shea engrosses us in the horrors of war, pulls at our heartstrings as we weep for Abe, and causes us to yearn for a time when he can confront the demons that control his life. At the same time, she explores the wrenching irony of war refugees being thrust into an American youth culture that glamorizes the very violence that has caused Abe so much anguish. Shea’s resolution, like Abe’s epiphany, is surprising, believable, and gratifying"
--Eleanor Porter Pershing, PhD., West Africa Trauma Team
"Whether in the ruined cities of Bosnia or the refugee camps in Thailand, the images that stay with me the longest are of the children... What will their futures be like when all they've known is war and fear? This book perfectly captures the ambiguity of traumatic memories and the paradox of healing faced by a boy who survived the war but struggles to become whole."
---Susan Beam, International Rescue Committee (IRC); Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Bosnia.
"Working in Zaire, I encountered many check-points to and from Kigali, Rwanda, patrolled by child soldiers. Although they tried to look tough with their mirrored sunglasses and AK-47s, they could barely carry their weapons. They were also nervous and jumpy which made them extremely dangerous. This book doesn't romanticize child soldiers, but is nonetheless a story of their hope in regaining trust in themselves and in others."
---Ferdinand Kalkhuis, Doctors without Borders; International Rescue Committee (IRC); and United Methodist Committee for Relief (UMCOR) in Bosnia and Kosovo.
About the Author:
Pegi Deitz Shea is best known for exploring human rights issues in children's books. Pegi has brought the worlds of refugees, immigrants, child laborers, and historical figures into the minds of readers of all ages. Her books include The Whispering Cloth, Tangled Threads, Ten Mice for Tet, The Carpet Boy's Gift and Patience Wright. Her books have been made Notables by organizations including the International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council for the Social Studies, Bank Street College, Junior Library Guild and the New York Public Library. She has been teaching writing for the Institute of Children's Literature since 1996, and teaching children's literature at the University of Connecticut since 2007. Pegi has presented at more than 350 schools, libraries and conferences across the nation. Raised in New Jersey, Pegi lives in Connecticut with her family when she's not traipsing around the world.