Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: This Book Betrays my Brother
Publish July 10, 2018
As the younger sister of the first born boy in several generations, Naledi shares in the adoration of Basimane (Basi), while knowing she can never be as special as he. Living in Basi’s shadow, Naledi has an average teenage life, crushing over boys, adjusting to her family’s change in living circumstances, and sharing in the excitement everyone feels when Basi is scouted to be a professional rugby player for South Africa. However, when Naledi witnesses the privileged Basi in an unimaginably violent act, Naledi’s view of her sainted brother is forever changed.
A powerful read, This Book Betrays My Brother, covers important topics such as racism, sexism, poverty, and sexual assault. Set after Apartheid in South Africa, Basi encounters intense racism as a black teen. Added to the fact that he is considered to be somewhat of a miracle in his family, when Basi is held back by the colour of his skin it is a personal affront to many.
Author of, Dancing in the Dust, Kagiso Lesego Molope’s choice to make the sister, Naledi, the narrator of the book, is what makes the tale well-rounded. As Basi’s only sibling, she has a unique perspective, and she is the only one able to see Basi clearly, even when he does not live up to her expectations.
Her introspective nature challenges Naledi to examine what is unreconcilable, offering the story of Basi’s seemingly charmed life, and the thoughtful, beautifully written exploration of Naledi’s fraught one as well.
An avid promoter of Canadian teen fiction, Amy Mathers completed the Marathon of Books in 2014. The money she raised allowed the Canadian Children’s Book Centre to fund the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. She also reviews for the Canadian Children’s Book News and writes a monthly article for the CCBC e-newsletter.
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