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The Milk of Birds
by Sylvia Whitman

Overview - This timely, heartrending novel tells the moving story of a friendship between two girls: one an American teen, one a victim of the crisis in Darfur.
"Know that there are many words behind the few on this paper..."
""Fifteen-year-old Nawra lives in Darfur, Sudan, in a camp for refugees displaced by the Janjaweed's trail of murder and destruction.
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More About The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman
 
 
 
Overview
This timely, heartrending novel tells the moving story of a friendship between two girls: one an American teen, one a victim of the crisis in Darfur.
"Know that there are many words behind the few on this paper..."
""Fifteen-year-old Nawra lives in Darfur, Sudan, in a camp for refugees displaced by the Janjaweed's trail of murder and destruction. Nawra cannot read or write, but when a nonprofit organization called Save the Girls pairs her with an American donor, Nawra dictates her thank-you letters. Putting her experiences into words begins to free her from her devastating past--and to brighten the path to her future.
K. C. is an American teenager from Richmond, Virginia, who hates reading and writing--or anything that smacks of school. But as Nawra pours grief and joy into her letters, she inspires K. C. to see beyond her own struggles. And as K. C. opens her heart in her responses to Nawra, she becomes both a dedicated friend and a passionate activist for Darfur.
In this poetic tale of unlikely sisterhood, debut author Sylvia Whitman captures the friendship between two girls who teach each other compassion and share a remarkable bond that bridges two continents.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781442446823
  • ISBN-10: 144244682X
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: April 2013
  • Page Count: 363
  • Reading Level: Ages 13-17


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - Friendship
Books > Juvenile Fiction > People & Places - Africa
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - Violence

 
BookPage Reviews

An incredible friendship, from America to Darfur

When 14-year-old Nawra, living in an Internally Displaced People Camp in Darfur, receives a small sum of money from an unknown donor, she assumes a rich widow with many sheep must have bestowed her wealth on her. In actuality, it’s 15-year-old K.C. Cannelli from Richmond, Virginia, after her mother signs her up for Save the Girls, a fictional yet realistic relief organization that encourages a year-long correspondence between young women from the U.S. and Sudan. In Sylvia Whitman’s The Milk of Birds, their initial hesitancy becomes a fierce connection that cannot be separated by oceans, war, poverty or different faiths.

Peppered with wise, traditional sayings, Nawra’s letters describe the destruction of her once-lively village, the murder of its men, the rape of its women and the aftermath that led her and the scant survivors to the IDP camp. A lesser author would have made K.C. a rich, selfish snob who only comes to realize her privilege in light of Nawra’s hardships. Instead, K.C. is a nuanced teen, struggling with a learning disability, fallout from her parents’ divorce and the possibility of a new boyfriend—yet she is responsive to Nawra’s dilemmas.

Nawra and K.C. worry over one another, extend advice and encourage each other’s talents—all the things good friends simply do. Inspired by Nawra, K.C. starts a school club to raise awareness for the tragedies in Africa. Together, these teens offer hope to Darfur.

Readers will feel shocked, outraged and saddened, but like K.C., they’ll ultimately be moved to learn more about Sudan’s ongoing injustices and the people they affect.

 
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