A Little Piece of Ground

by Elizabeth Laird and Bill Neal

Karim Aboudi would live and breathe soccer twenty-four hours a day if he could. But... read more

Karim Aboudi would live and breathe soccer twenty-four hours a day if he could. But there’s the little matter of school, and the much bigger matter of curfews, which sometimes force him, his family, and the other Palestinian residents of Ramallah to stay in their houses for days on end. It’s also hard to find a good place to play. Hopper, who lives in a nearby refugee camp, shares Karim’s passion for soccer. With the help of some friends, the two boys clear a rock-strewn area on the outskirts of the camp and create a soccer field. But their joy at having a place to play is short-lived after another curfew is declared and their field is occupied by a small group of Israeli tanks and soldiers. Elizabeth Laird’s tense, forthright novel is woven with memorable moments in which the frustration, fear, and humiliation felt by Karim, his family, and friends are palpable. The impact on older teens like Karim’s brother is a growing sense of anger, while many adults must combat hopelessness. For a child like Karim, there is constant awareness of uncertainty, and a growing understanding of how hard it can be to not give in to feelings of despair in a riveting story that offers U.S. readers a glimpse behind the headlines. (Ages 10–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007

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