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Saving Sky

199p. 978-0-06123-905-2.
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Gr 5—8—Living on a New Mexico ranch, Sky Brightman and her family are largely removed from the disturbing news of the war on terror and are sheltered from images of death and destruction as suicide bombers wage war on the United States. Then, when Kareem, a seventh-grade Middle Eastern classmate, is picked on by bullies, and his doctor father is detained by federal agents, Sky resolves to stand by the boy. In a scene that stretches credulity, Sky and her mother collaborate to remove Kareem surreptitiously from school. They safeguard him in their home and build a secret place for him in the barn in case he should need one. Kareem goes into hiding when suspicious Homeland Security agents come looking for him. In the meantime, an attack knocks out the power over a good portion of the country. When Homeland Security comes again, Kareem is spotted and knows he must turn himself in; the president has ordered the DHS to hold detainees until the war ends. Four months later, at the state's Land of Enchantment essay award ceremony, Sky reads from Kareem's poignant journal and is heartened by the audience's reception. The mood of the novel is muted by the spare detail. The main characters are well rendered and likable, and, in her portrayal of the earth-centered, nurturing Brightman family, Stanley succeeds in delivering the message that hope trumps fear.—Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
Sky experiences seventh grade in a world where 9/11 was just the beginning of years of increasingly destructive terrorism. Her off-the-grid family enters the war for justice by hiding Sky's Middle Eastern classmate. Bombings and breakdown of utility services are mentioned in passing, keeping the focus on Sky, her friend, and timely discussion of civil liberties and interdependence.

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