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Bifocal
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About the Author

Deborah Ellis is the acclaimed author of The Heaven Shop and the Breadwinner trilogy. She has won the Governor General's Award, Canada's highest literary honor, and is a member of the Order of Ontario. She travels the world to hear the stories of children marginalized by war, illness, and poverty. Eric Walters is one of Canada's most successful writers and prolific writers for teenagers. His novel Shattered recently won the 2007 National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Award and the 2007 White Pine Award. A former teacher, Eric visits classrooms across the country and he has already spoken to more than 750,000 students.

Reviews

Gr 8-10-Jay and Haroon are caught up in parallel plots that begin when police initiate a school lockdown and arrest a Muslim student under suspicion of terrorist links. Tensions are sparked in the racially divided high school where "brown" students congregate in "Brown Town." Jay, a newcomer, is a football jock. Haroon provides contrast as a nerdish academic-quiz-team member, but he has come under police suspicion for being Muslim after another Muslim student says he understands why terrorists behave as they do. Further conflict leads to the vandalizing of Brown Town. On Halloween, the captain leads some footballers to vandalize houses, including Haroon's. Both boys struggle to understand people and events around them and must rise above the mistrust created by 9/11 to make powerful choices. Jay finally stands up to his bigoted team captain and Haroon overcomes his fear. The authors' intentions are noble as they bravely plot the course of two strangers becoming less strange. The climax is moving. Regrettably the story is peppered with dialogue and actions that are inaccurate of Muslims. Consequently the book unintentionally contributes to the continuation and reinforcement of stereotypes, which limits its usefulness.-Fawzia Gilani-Williams, Oberlin Public Library, OH Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"This novel is about our differences and how we treat one another. It deals with contemporary issues and could well become important reading in today's high schools."
-- "Winnipeg Free Press"

"(Bifocal) is a powerful look at a community divided along racial lines."
-- "The Canadian Press" "Together, Ellis and Walters created two vivid characters and put them in a fictional high school that bristles with racial tension."
-- "The Toronto Star"


"This thought-provoking novel works extremely well as an examination of the dangers of racism and the redeeming value of tolerance."
-- "Quill & Quire"

"This is a powerful and important book, one that will speak to modern teen readers in a way that they will undoubtedly hear and respond to. . . Without falling into didacticism, Ellis and Walters thoughtfully depict a full range of reactions and widely-held beliefs and offer readers the opportunity to see not only the vastly different experiences that shape Jay and Haroon's understanding of events, but also how so many others feel and respond to events like 9/11 and the mere threat of anything similar. . . "Bifocal" should, and will, enjoy a wide readership and would make an excellent choice for class, or group, discussion."
Highly Recommended.
-- "CM Magazine" "This is a story that will leave readers looking at their schools and themselves with new eyes."
-- "Booklist" "Bifocal is perhaps the bravest, most important, engaging and enraging, most satisfying work of fiction for young Canadians in a long while. Also, the most timely. It will make you think, render you angry and saddened, and leave you hopeful and reflective."
-- "The Hamilton Spectator" "This novel is about our differences and how we treat one another. It deals with contemporary issues and could well become important reading in todayas high schools."
-- "Winnipeg Free Press" "(Bifocal) is a powerful look at a community divided along racial lines."
-- "The Canadian Press" "Together, Ellis and Walters created two vivid characters and put them in a fictional high school that bristles with racial tension."
-- "The TorontoStar"



"This thought-provoking novel works extremely well as an examination of the dangers of racism and the redeeming value of tolerance."
-- "Quill & Quire"

"This is a powerful and important book, one that will speak to modern teen readers in a way that they will undoubtedly hear and respond to. . . Without falling into didacticism, Ellis and Walters thoughtfully depict a full range of reactions and widely-held beliefs and offer readers the opportunity to see not only the vastly different experiences that shape Jay and Haroon's understanding of events, but also how so many others feel and respond to events like 9/11 and the mere threat of anything similar. . . "Bifocal" should, and will, enjoy a wide readership and would make an excellent choice for class, or group, discussion."
Highly Recommended.
-- "CM Magazine"
"This is a story that will leave readers looking at their schools and themselves with new eyes."
-- "Booklist"
"Bifocal is perhaps the bravest, most important, engaging and enraging, most satisfying work of fiction for young Canadians in a long while. Also, the most timely. It will make you think, render you angry and saddened, and leave you hopeful and reflective."
-- "The Hamilton Spectator"
"This novel is about our differences and how we treat one another. It deals with contemporary issues and could well become important reading in today's high schools."
-- "Winnipeg Free Press"
"(Bifocal) is a powerful look at a community divided along racial lines."
-- "The Canadian Press"
"Together, Ellis and Walters created two vivid characters and put them in a fictional high school that bristles with racial tension."
-- "The Toronto Star"



"This thought-provoking novel works extremely well as an examination of the dangers of racism and the redeeming value of tolerance."

-- Quill & Quire "This is a powerful and important book, one that will speak to modern teen readers in a way that they will undoubtedly hear and respond to. . . Without falling into didacticism, Ellis and Walters thoughtfully depict a full range of reactions and widely-held beliefs and offer readers the opportunity to see not only the vastly different experiences that shape Jay and Haroon's understanding of events, but also how so many others feel and respond to events like 9/11 and the mere threat of anything similar. . . Bifocal should, and will, enjoy a wide readership and would make an excellent choice for class, or group, discussion." Highly Recommended. -- CM Magazine "This is a story that will leave readers looking at their schools and themselves with new eyes." -- Booklist "Bifocal is perhaps the bravest, most important, engaging and enraging, most satisfying work of fiction for young Canadians in a long while. Also, the most timely. It will make you think, render you angry and saddened, and leave you hopeful and reflective." -- The Hamilton Spectator "This novel is about our differences and how we treat one another. It deals with contemporary issues and could well become important reading in today's high schools." -- Winnipeg Free Press "(Bifocal) is a powerful look at a community divided along racial lines." -- The Canadian Press "Together, Ellis and Walters created two vivid characters and put them in a fictional high school that bristles with racial tension." -- The Toronto Star

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