Posted on July 15th, 2015 by pajamapress
“In this riveting love story based on true events, Deborah Ellis transports readers to Iran in 1988 just nine years after the Islamic Revolution. There readers meet fifteen-year-old Farrin, born into a wealthy aristocratic family. Farrin’s life is filled with great privilege except at her private high school for gifted girls where Pargol, a student monitor, often bullies her. Farrin gains a friend when Sadira arrives at the school. Eventually their relationship grows into something more than friendship, and the girls plan to run away together after Sadira’s parents arrange a marriage for her. Both girls are arrested, and readers can see how the perspective of the book’s characters change with shifts in power and position. In the afterward (sic.), the author explains how homosexuality is still illegal in more than 70 countries and punishable by death in six. Readers will find this powerful book both compelling and chilling.”
—Terrell A. Young, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
The Dragon Lode is a juried journal published by the International Reading Association Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group. Click here to learn more.
Posted on June 18th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Like a conscientious hiker, Deborah Ellis treads skilfully through the historical terrain of her thirtieth work, Moon at Nine. The revolutionary tumult of 1980s post-shah Iran might not seem like fertile territory for a YA novel with queer and feminist themes, yet Ellis’s superbly crafted storytelling weaves together the ensuing political chaos with a teenage girl’s struggle to find her place within her restrictive society in a way that reveals the YA genre as capable of more than it is usually given credit for. That Ellis is so comfortable spinning so many plates at once is a testament to her authorial skill; that not one of these plates falls is what makes Moon at Nine such a cracking piece of literature.
…Moon at Nine is the romantic adventure tale longed for by queer teenagers prowling the school library for stories that more closely resemble their own. The novel’s foreign and historical setting are brought to life by Ellis’s energizing prose, and each character is fully realized as a layered human being attempting to negotiate and survive an oppressive political regime. While Deborah Ellis succeeds resoundingly in her pioneering position, Moon at Nine reveals that LGBT themes so dexterously written into YA literature are sadly all too rare.”
—Matthew R. Loney
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on March 27th, 2015 by pajamapress
Five Pajama Press titles have been selected for the Bank Street College of Education’s The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2015 Edition:
Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That
Written by Victoria Allenby, illustrated by Tara Anderson
Under Five, Animals (Fiction)
Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World
Written and illustrated by Celia Godkin
Ages 9–12, Ecology
Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends
Written by Rob Laidlaw
Ages 9–12, Science
Moon at Nine
Written by Deborah Ellis
Ages 12–14, Today
Written by Karen Bass
Ages 14+, Historical Fiction
Click here to view the full lists.
Posted on March 8th, 2015 by pajamapress
Pajama Press congratulates Deborah Ellis, whose 2014 novel Moon at Nine has been shortlisted for the 2015 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award.
Based closely on real events, Moon at Nine recounts the story of two teenaged girls who fell in love in 1980s Tehran. The moving novel has already been selected for the Amelia Bloomer Project List and as a Quill & Quire book of the year, an Ontario Library Association Best Bet, and a Best Books for Kids & Teens starred selection.
The CLA Young Adult Book Award is sponsored by TD Bank Group and Library Services Centre each year for a work of fiction that appeals to young adults between the ages of 13 and 18. The winner and honour books will be announced during the week of April 20th. The award will be presented during the CLA National Conference and Trade Show in Ottawa on June 4th.
Visit the Moon at Nine page to download a classroom discussion guide, find resources about Deborah Ellis, watch the official book trailer, or read full reviews.
Posted on February 17th, 2015 by pajamapress
Pajama Press is proud to announce that Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis has been selected as one of the titles to be honoured on the Amelia Bloomer Young Adult Fiction list in 2015.
Part of the American Library Association Social Responsibilities Round Table’s Feminist Task Force, the Amelia Bloomer Project recommends a list of the best feminist books for young readers each year. You can view the full 2015 list here.
Moon at Nine is the powerful story of two young teenaged girls in 1980s Iran whose friendship deepens into romance. In post-revolutionary Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death—but Farrin and Sadira refuse to deny their love. Author Deborah Ellis says, “Farin and Sadira’s story, based on true events, shows the power of love, of hope, and of the determination of women around the world to make things better.”
Moon at Nine has also been honoured recently as a Quill & Quire Book of the Year and an Ontario Library Association Best Bet. School Library Journal says, “Sparse and eloquently-written, this short historical novel is both beautiful and heartbreaking.” Publishers Weekly adds, “A firm grounding in Iranian history, along with the insight and empathy Ellis brings to the pain of those whose love is decreed to be immoral and unnatural, make this a smart, heartbreaking [novel.]”
Follow the links to access full reviews, a book trailer, interviews with Deborah Ellis, and a free downloadable classroom teaching guide.
Posted on December 10th, 2014 by pajamapress
“As with her many other acclaimed novels such as The Bread Winner, Deborah Ellis manages to avoid stepping on cultural taboos through rigorous research and editing, and her story hits on universal themes such as family secrets, friendships, relationships and coming-of-age. Ellis transports her readers to a foreign land with a very different set of rules, where they can smell the streets and see their colours but also feel the fear and the anger of their people.
…Moon at Nine is more than simply an LGTBQ novel or historical fiction. Like so many wonderful young adult titles today, it is a multi-faceted hybrid that can be enjoyed by both teens and adults. Driving the heart of the story home is the revelation that this book is based on a true story, inspired by an Iranian woman that Ellis met. Farrin and Sadira’s story gives a voice to those who have been silenced and forgotten. It is powerfully grounded in the setting of Tehran, and depicts the beauty of falling in love and the cruelty and coldness of power in the hands of outside forces.”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on October 1st, 2014 by pajamapress
“Ten years have passed since the Shah was overthrown in Iran, and Farrin, 15, struggles against the oppressive rule of politics, teachers, and her family’s anti-revolutionary secrets. But her budding clandestine romance with Sadira threatens her security most of all; homosexuality is punishable by death. This novel for teens at their formative age exposes the persecution gay lovers face worldwide today.”
Posted on September 10th, 2014 by pajamapress
“Although a deftly crafted work of fiction, “Moon At Nine” is based upon true events in Islamic countries where homosexuality is punishable by death. An extraordinary and original novel, “Moon At Nine” is recommended for young readers ages 13 and up and is appropriate for highschool and community library collections.”
Click here to read the full issue.
Posted on August 21st, 2014 by pajamapress
In an interview with the New York Times Sunday Book Review, educational activist Malala Yousafzai spoke about one of her favourite contemporary authors, Deborah Ellis:
“I like writers who can show me worlds I know nothing about, but my favorites are those who create characters or worlds which feel realistic and familiar to me, or who can make me feel inspired. I discovered Deborah Ellis’s books in the school library after my head teacher encouraged me to go beyond the school curriculum and look for books I might enjoy. This wasn’t long after I arrived in Britain, and I was missing my friends terribly. Reading about Afghanistan made me feel like being back at home. This is the power of books. They can take you to places which are beyond reach.”
Asked what books she would recommend for young people who want to understand the situation for girls and women in Pakistan today, Malala suggested Mud City, where “Ellis beautifully captures childhood in war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan.” When the interviewer asked for a book recommendation for all girls to read, Malala replied, “‘The Breadwinner,’ by Deborah Ellis…’The Breadwinner’ reminds us how courageous and strong women are around the world.”
Malala Yousafzai has inspired the world as an activist and co-author of the the book, I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World. You can read her full interview with the New York Times Sunday Book Review here.
Click here to learn about Deborah Ellis’ latest book, Moon at Nine.
Photo by Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons – cc-by-sa-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Posted on August 5th, 2014 by pajamapress
“In this third person rendition, Deborah Ellis creates characters that aren’t all loveable Ann[e] of Green Gable types. Farrin is a defiant perhaps selfish teen with a razor sharp mind who hates her mom. Besides writing stories, she has no goals until she meets Sadira, a kind and smart girl who comes to the aid of all…A story that illuminates, astounds and perhaps will grow empathy for other cultures and sexualities.”
Click here to read the full review.