Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Other Side of Truth

The Other Side of Truth
The Other Side of Truth

This is the kind of book 5th grade teachers love because it's good, but it's also a great teaching tool. It's historical fiction based on political unrest in Nigeria in the 1990's. Sade's father is a journalist critical of the dictator, and when her mother is shot and killed (they were aiming for her father), he decides to send Sade and her brother Femi to London for safety. Things don't go as planned and Sade has some big problems to deal with, especially that she doesn't know who to trust in a strange new country.

Without going into spoilerific details, I'll just say there are lots of issues that the book brings up. The foremost is how to deal with bullies: Sade's father deals with the government bullying by trying to expose them. But Sade wonders whether it's better to just give them what they want and hope they leave you alone. She ends up in an analogous situation later in the story. It seems as though at every turn, Sade must decide whether the truth will help or hurt her, and the answer is never clear.

My one criticism is that when I started reading, I thought Sade and her brother were a lot younger than they were. I thought they were like 10 and 7, but they were more like 13 and 9. That makes a big difference when I imagined them alone on the streets of London. Along those lines, I found myself wondering whether some characters were black or white or something else, but I guess it didn't really matter to the story.

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