Monday, 23 August 2010
Two Suns by Miriam Bat-Ami
Two Suns in the Sky received the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. The author, Miriam Bat-Ami, uses an interesting author's style and technique to chronicle both the problems of Jewish refugees in America during World War II and the responses to the refugees by Americans living near the refugee shelters.
The author uses parallel voices to express two points of view. One point of view belongs to Chris a teenage girl who lives near the camp in Oswego, New York. The second point of view belongs to Adam, a Jewish youth whose family first escaped from Yugoslovia and then from hiding in Italy.
The author reinforces many of the themes and conflicts developed in the book by introducing each chapter with quotes from former refugees or other historical personages.
The most important quote used to reinforce the themes and conflicts related to the time period is this quote by Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the end of the author's note:
"We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent upon the well-being of other nations far away. We have learned that we must live as men (and women), and not as ostriches nor as dogs in the manger. We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community" (p. 218).
Important themes are found in this book: people will seek freedom from religious and political persecution, prejudice, and hatred are destructive forces, moral obligation and personal conscience are strong forces, freedom is worth fighting for, and family love and loyalty help people endure catastrophic experiences.