Title: Now is the Time for Running
Author: Michael Williams
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July, 2011
Genre/Format: Realistic fiction-Multicultural/Novel
In a dusty field in the province of Mosvingo in Zimbabwe, Deo plays soccer with his friends will his older brother Innocent watches. Then the soldiers show up and Deo and Innocent's world is turned upside down. They are now on the run, refugees from their own village, and must find a way to survive. As Deo works to protect his mentally challenged older brother while still making hard decisions, there are struggles at every turn. And during this time in Africa, refugees are not accepted with open arms. As Deo and Innocent find themselves in Johannesberg, South Africa, they find that the place that they thought would save them is the toughest place they've been yet.
What I Think:
This is a book like Patricia McCormick's Sold
where you hope it is taking place in the past, but cannot hide from yourself the fact that it is taking place in the present. The horrors that are told in this story are beyond recognition of those of us living in America. Deo and Innocent's struggles are more than just being hungry, they are the fear of being killed. Xenophobia is the fear and hatred of people who come from another country. In May of 2008, xenophobic attacks happened in the Alexandra township of South Africa and these attacks were just one example of the prejudice and violence that refugees in South Africa were experiencing.
This story deals with this hatred and horror; however, it also deals with how one person and one opportunity can change everything. How a sport can bring together people at even the worse times. This story has many underlying elements which layer perfectly into a heart wrenching tale. This one will not be leaving me for a while. It is a true survival story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and with tears in your eyes.
Read Together: Grades 7 to 10
Read Alone: Grades 7 to 12
Read With: Sold by Patricia McCormick, Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan, La Linea by Ann Jaramillo
"Then standing to one side, I see the boy with the crutches and one leg. I remember him from the baobab tree. His people must also have been heading for the boarder. He steps forward as if he has made up his mind. Thirteen pairs of eyes turn toward him. Surely he can't expect to play with us? He digs his crutches into the dirt and comes closer. There is a fire in his eyes. His mouth is hard, determined line in a face of stone.
I don't know what makes me do it, but I throw the ball toward him. He lurches forward, plants both his crutches, swings forward with his good leg, and kicks the ball so hard that it sails over our heads. Sinbaba jumps and catches it." (p. 65-66)
Mentor Text for: Background Knowledge, Asking Questions, Characterization
Writing Prompt: Innocent keeps his Bix-Box with him at all times. It includes all of his valuables. If you were to choose your 10 most precious items to put in your own Bix-Box, what would they be?
Topics Covered: Cross-curricular- Refugees, Xenophobia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Soccer, Family, Death, Mental Illness, Homelessness, Loyalty
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