The Day My Father Became a Bush by Joke van Leeuwen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a story of a young girl caught between a war, two homes and separated parents (the mother lives across the border). It explores and depicts the emotions of Toda the main character as she is sent away from the only home she knows to live with a mother she doesn't remember, while her father has to go fight a war. Her voice is both innocent and very frank. Interestingly enough, after running into a few troubles on her solo journey she learns to keep certain things to herself.
I like how she has to learn a new language in her new country and also get a glimpse of their immigration process. I actually find their "interrogation" process a bit funny.
Although the book touches on some serious subjects, the character's voice makes all the difference. It's light and quite funny at times.
I think the book is a perfect read for middle graders with some assistance from parents to discuss subjects like diversity (the book was originally published in Nederlands) and war.
Award winning European books published in the USA are gems in my humble opinion.
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