9781554984916_p0_v1_s260x420The Cat at the Wall
By Deborah Ellis
Published by Groundwood Books
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“A soulful story that captures the magic of possibility, even in difficult times.” —Kirkus Reviews  (Starred Review)

A cat sneaks into a small Palestinian house on the West Bank that has been commandeered by two Israeli soldiers. The house seems empty, until the cat realizes that a little boy is hiding beneath the floorboards. Should she help him? After all, she’s just a cat. Or is she? She was once a regular North American girl, but that was before she died and came back to life as a cat. When the little boy is discovered, the soldiers don’t know what to do with him. It is not long before his teacher and classmates come looking for him, and the house is suddenly surrounded by Palestinian villagers throwing rocks, and the sound of Israeli tanks approaching. As the soldiers begin to panic and disaster seems certain, the cat knows that it is up to her to diffuse the situation. But what can a cat do? What can any one creature do?

Reviews & Accolades
“Without editorializing, Ellis’s suspenseful and thought-provoking novel offers a touching, humane context for one of the world’s most intractable situations.”  —New York Times Book Review – Monica Edinger

“One minute, Clare is a middle school student in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but the next, she is in Bethlehem—”the real one”—and she’s a cat. Thus begins Ellis’ thought-provoking and extremely accessible exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of a reflective stray cat (with a wry sense of humor) who finds refuge in a one-room house south of Bethlehem in the West Bank. Two Israeli soldiers, one ignorant and the other wiser and more compassionate, have commandeered it as a surveillance post, but the cat soon realizes there’s a small Palestinian boy hiding beneath the floorboards and having trouble breathing…and where are his parents? Through suspenseful and compelling prose, the author presents the situation with evenhandedness and emphasizes the importance of context; she trusts that young readers can understand a great deal. ” —Kirkus Reviews   “The story feels simple in plot and character development, but do not be misled because this story has the potential to focus younger readers on what it means to be both human and humane and introduces readers to the ideas of social conscience and our impact on the lives of others. A compelling read for upper elementary and middle school students.” —Children’s Literature – Jean Boreen
“Ellis’s premise is an unusual one, but with it she crafts a thought-provoking and sensitive story about the power of empathy and selflessness.”  —Publishers Weekly

Groups Represented

Israeli Palestinian War
Sibling Relationships

West Bank
United States

Engagement Projects
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