Young, brave and en­gaged

The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS -

WHEN Yitzhak Rabin was as­sas­si­nated, 14-year-old Is­raeli Bat-Chen Sha­hak sent a poem of con­do­lence to Rabin’s wife, Leah. The fol­low­ing year, Bat-Chen her­self was killed by a sui­cide bomber in Tel Aviv. Now Kar-Ben has pub­lished The Bat-Chen Di­aries re­veal­ing an en­gag­ing per­son­al­ity re­flect­ing on ev­ery­thing from school­girl tiffs to right­ing the world’s wrongs. Highly rec­om­mended for age 11-up. (KarBen, £4.99, avail­able through Ku­per­ard, 0208 446 2440.) Mes­sage in a Bot­tle, by Va­lerie Ze­natti (Blooms­bury, £5.99), of­fers teenage read­ers a fic­tional per­spec­tive on the Is­raeliPales­tinian con­flict. Ide­al­is­tic Is­raeli young­ster Tal Levine gives her brother a mes­sage, en­closed in a bot­tle, which he is to de­posit in Gaza while on mil­i­tary ser­vice. A young Pales­tinian man finds the bot­tle on Gaza beach and be­gins a risky email cor­re­spon­dence. Age 12-16.

Fact and fiction are in­ter­wo­ven in Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City, by Kirsten Miller (Blooms­bury, £6.99). School­girl Ananka Fish­bein im­parts self-defence tips, spy tac­tics and other did-you-knows, be­tween chap­ters of an ad­ven­ture story fo­cused on a spooky un­der­ground city be­neath New York. Ananka and a gang of dis­graced girl scouts are led by the charis­matic Kiki Strike, in a plot in­volv­ing kid­nap­ping, drug­ging and buried trea­sure. Age 11 up.

Feel like try­ing some hero­ine-style stunts for your­self? Be pre­pared, with The Dar­ing Book for Girls by An­drea J. Buchanan and Miriam B. Peskowitz (HarperCollins, £20). This book leaps ath­let­i­cally from sub­ject to sub­ject (hav­ing first tucked its skirt into its knick­ers, one as­sumes). One minute you could be read­ing about the achieve­ments of Indira Gandhi and the next learn­ing how to lev­i­tate your friend or put up your hair with a pen­cil. Res­o­lutely fem­i­nist, this would make a great “al­ter­na­tive” bat­mitz­vah present. Age 11 up.

Jimmy Coates ( Joe Craig’s part boy, part weapon) re­turns for an­other round of ac­tion chal­lenges ( Jimmy Coates, Sur­vival, HarperCollins £5.99). To es­cape his en­e­mies, he fakes his own death. Age 9-14.

In Boobela, Worm and Po­tion Power, by Joe Fried­man (Orion, £6.99), courage comes in many forms — from learn­ing to swim to cop­ing when you lose your “teacher’s pet” sta­tus. Boobela the girl gi­ant and her opin­ion­ated lit­tle friend are very ap­peal­ing char­ac­ters; the sto­ries are gen­tle but sat­is­fy­ing. Great Sam Childs pic­tures. Age 4-8.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.