Samir and Yonatan
By Daniella Carmi
Translated from Hebrew by Yael Lotan
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books

“This thoughtful and well-written book would be a good starting point for discussion on the current situation in the Middle East. Its easy and flowing style makes it accessible to middle schoolers, while its topic makes it equally appropriate for older teens.” –KILATT

Find a copy at Amazon | IndieBound | B&N


Description
Nothing could be more frightening to Samir, a Palestinian boy, than to be where he is now: an Israeli hospital ward, trapped among the very people he blames for his brother’s death. Amid this explosive atmosphere, Samir begins to learn about the Israeli kids around him. He discovers their hurts and conflicts – and hesitantly begins to share his own.

This is a story of violence and healing – the story of a boy facing the enemy he has been taught to fear.

Reviews & Accolades

Winner Mildred L. Batchelder Award, 2001
Honorable Mention for the UNESCO prize for Children’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance

“As the hospitalized children spend time together, they come to support one another, forming a team that crosses cultural boundaries…Life in the hospital is described as clearly as life in the Occupied Territories and readers will sympathize with Samir’s fear and loneliness and welcome his new friendships.” –Kathleen Isaacs, School Library Journal

An Israeli author debuts in English on this side of the Atlantic with a sad but not heavy tale of life and death on the West Bank…[Samir] paints a grim picture of life in the occupied zone: the privation, the fear, and the devastation of losing his younger brother, Fadi, to violence. Ultimately, wardmate Yonatan, son of an astronomer, shows Samir ways of looking beyond the boundaries of his war-ravaged world, and Carmi lightens the general tone with a final scene in which Samir and Tzahi, a hyperactive tormentor, bury the hatchet.”  –Kirkus Reviews

Students unfamiliar with the conflict in Palestine will still understand the feelings of Samir, terrified and alone in a room with four strangers…the background information will help them understand Samir’s life outside the hospital—the curfew, the constant fear of being shot, his barber father no longer having customers, and his younger brother dead from a Jewish soldier’s bullet. It is a story first of fear of the unknown, and then of tolerance and acceptance, as Samir learns to love these Jewish children as if they were his own siblings.” –Children’s Literature

This thoughtful and well-written book would be a good starting point for discussion on the current situation in the Middle East. Its easy and flowing style makes it accessible to middle schoolers, while its topic makes it equally appropriate for older teens.” –KILATT

“Although the book appears appropriate for a much younger audience, the emotions and issues are complex and more suited for middle school readers. Young teens will relate to Samir’s feelings of being an outsider and will appreciate the message of peace that is the central theme of the book.” –VOYA

Groups Represented
Palestinian
Jewish

Themes
Multicultural friendships, family death, trauma

Setting
Israel

Author Research
TBA

Engagement Projects
Leave a comment and let us know how you use this title!