Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Dance of the Banished

Publish October 10, 2014

In Dance of the Banished, acclaimed author, Marsha Skrypuch, once again breathes life into a piece of history with passionate clarity. Published on the one hundredth anniversary of World War I, Dance of the Banished tells the dual stories of alien internment in Canada and the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, both from an unusual perspective. Zeynap, fierce and bold, and Ali, caring and principled, live in the same village in Anatolia and plan to marry. Unexpectedly, Ali is sent to Canada and Zeynap is left behind. Each writes in a journal for the other, but as war comes to both countries it is unlikely their words will ever be shared. Still, they keep on. Zeynap writes an eyewitness account of the genocide from the point of view of the Alevi Kurds, telling a little known side of this tragic story. Ali, in turn, gives an accounting of life in an internment camp in, surprisingly, Kapuskasing. For each, the journal entries are a coping mechanism, a way to bear witness to the atrocities of war and ultimately, to bring justice. Skrypuch’s compelling characters give an authentic voice to this well researched story. It is definitely a book for adults as well as teens. And although it is a story of war it includes moments of great joy, making it much more than a tragedy. Whether together in Turkey or alone in banishment, both Zeynap and Ali are able to lose themselves when they dance. Their troubles are momentarily forgotten in an ecstasy of whirling that reminds us of the cyclical nature of human events. Preserving the past, as Skrypuch does so well, is part of that cycle. DanceOfTheBanished_HR_RGBDance of the Banished By Marsha Skrypuch 978-1-927485-65-1 Pajama Press August 22, 2014 288 pp Ages 12+            

  • Penny Draper copy

Penny Draper lives in Victoria, British Columbia. She is the author of the award-winning “Disaster Strikes!” series, historical fiction that places young protagonists at the centre of real Canadian disasters. Logo-NoType The National Reading Campaign publishes children’s book reviews  under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.