Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: When Morning Comes
Publish October 14, 2016
Coming from very diverse economic and racial backgrounds, the only commonality Jack, Zanele, Meena and Thabo share is living in South Africa during Apartheid. As Zanele works to change the racially segregated system by planning a massive student protest, the highly charged political background of 1976 sweeps up the other teens as well, exposing Jack to hard truths about his family’s white privilege and revealing to Meena a life outside of her father’s convenience store. When the protest has unexpected consequences for Zanele, it will take all four of them working together to ensure her safety. Arushi Raina’s debut teen novel, When Morning Comes, is part historical fiction and part Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Based on Black South African students fighting against being taught in Afrikaans instead of English, Zanele’s story highlights the events surrounding Soweto Uprising on June 16th, 1976. Driven by the pursuit of social justice against a white government trying to preserve power and a dying language, the zeal felt by Zanele spreads to her friends in unique ways, forming unlikely alliances between them. But Zanele and Jack’s meeting and subsequent relationship is also a love story. Despite government-endorsed racial and class prejudice, both are able to see past their contrasting backgrounds and embrace the need for change. Knowing a mixed race relationship in South Africa at the time is a doomed one, Thabo and Meena reluctantly support Zanele and Jack, helping to navigate the barriers preventing them from being together. With a socially conscious, well-rounded plot provided by four distinct perspectives, When Morning Comes embodies the hope and passion of youth while illuminating a dark time in South Africa’s history.
ISBN 13: 978-1-926-890-142