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Posts Tagged ‘marsha-forchuk-skrypuch’

The International Examiner calls One Step Ahead, “a poignant story of compassion, perseverance and recovery.”

Posted on April 20th, 2016 by pajamapress

One Step At A Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“…as a poignant story of compassion, perseverance and recovery, Skrypuch’s writing provides a platform for opening a dialogue on the repercussions of war and violence, as well as global health in regard to polio. As such, the story is perfect for bringing together multiple generations of readers.”—International Examiner

Click here to read the full review.

Dance of the Banished a USBBY Outstanding International Book

Posted on January 9th, 2016 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websiteDance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has been selected as an Outstanding International Book by the United States Board on Books for Young People for 2016. This is a high honour given to a shortlist of books first published outside of the United States that are “deemed most outstanding of those published during the calendar year.” (USBBY website). These books:

  • Represent the best of children´s literature from other countries
  • Introduce American readers to outstanding authors and illustrators from other countries
  • Help American children see the world from other points of view
  • Provide a perspective or address a topic otherwise missing from children´s literature in the U.S.
  • Exhibit a distinct cultural flavor
  • Are accessible to American readers.

Dance of the Banished is also the winner of the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, a White Ravens Selection, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Best Books for Kids & Teens selection.

Dance of the Banished Nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People

Posted on September 10th, 2015 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websitePajama Press is pleased to announce that Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has been shortlisted for the 2015 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

This Young Adult novel, set in Canada and Anatolia during World War I, uses a compelling love story to explore two difficult and significant historical events: the internment of so-called enemy aliens in Canada, and the Armenian Genocide. Skrypuch, the granddaughter of a World War I internee, conducted extensive research into history that had not been brought to light in 100 years.

Ali and Zeynep, the novel’s protagonists, are betrothed Anatolian teenagers caught by circumstances that threaten to separate them forever. While Ali has found passage to a better life in Canada, war breaks out in 1914; he is declared an enemy alien and sent to an internment camp. Meanwhile, left behind in a country plunged into war and revolution, Zeynep is determined to stay alive and—despite the impossible odds—cross a continent and an ocean to find Ali again. First, though, she must find a way to save her Christian Armenian neighbours from the horrors of the Armenian Genocide.

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the multi-award winning author of more than a dozen historical picture books, chapter books, and juvenile and young adult novels, including three other novels about the Armenian genocide: The Hunger, Nobody’s Child, and Daughter of War. Her first work of narrative non-fiction, Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, won the Red Cedar Information Book Award, was an OLA Red Maple Honour Book, and was nominated for the Hamilton Literary Award. It was followed in 2012 by One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way, winner of the 2014 OLA Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award. In 2008, in recognition of her outstanding achievement in the development of the culture of Ukraine, Marsha was awarded the Order of Princess Olha, which was bestowed upon her personally by the president of Ukraine. Marsha lives in Brantford, Ontario.

The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People is administered annually by the TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Established in memory of children’s author and historian Geoffrey Bilson, it awards $5,000.00 to the Canadian author of an outstanding work of historical fiction for children or young adults. The winner will be announced at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards Gala in Toronto on November 18th.

Interview with Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch: Dance of the Banished and the Armenian Genocide

Posted on April 23rd, 2015 by pajamapress

On April 24, 2015, Armenians around the world will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a systematic campaign by Turkish leaders in the Ottoman Empire to remove the empire’s Christian Armenian population. As evidenced by recent headlines, the subject is controversial today because the Turkish government denies that these deportations and killings can be labelled “genocide.”

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, a Canadian author of books for children and teens, will also be marking the anniversary. Skrypuch is no stranger to controversial history; her picture book Enough, written about the holodomor, earned her both death threats from angry readers and a medal from the President of Ukraine: the Order of Princess Olha. She has gone on to write over twenty other books for young readers, including her recent YA novel Dance of the Banished, which takes place during the Armenian Genocide. Skrypuch’s week is filled with events commemorating the genocide’s anniversary, but she took some time to speak with us about Dance of the Banished and why she writes books for young people about difficult subjects.

Zeynep’s portion of the story takes place in a tumultuous time and place: the Ottoman Empire during the Young Turk revolution and the Armenian Genocide. What challenges did you face in your research for Zeynep’s perspective?
DanceOfTheBanished_HR_RGBI rely heavily on first person accounts to build scenes and timelines in my novels. The problem while writing Dance of the Banished was that I could find no first person account from the perspective of an Alevi Kurd, even though thousands of Alevi Kurds witnessed the Genocide and their rescue operations are well-documented in other first person accounts. The trick was to wade through first person accounts of missionaries, Genocide survivors and others and piece together what Zeynep’s life would have been like during WWI and the Armenian Genocide. I also had to read up on Alevi beliefs. After I finished writing the novel, I sent it to Suleyman Goven, who is of Alevi Kurd heritage. He gave me detailed feedback to make Zeynep more authentic.

This is not the first time you have written about controversial historical events. What draws you to tell the stories that some would rather see forgotten?
I feel a responsibility to give a voice to people whose experiences have been silenced for political or religious reasons. I need to be passionate about my subject because otherwise I’d get bored with my own words. Writing these untold bits of history is my way of honouring the survivors.

Why do you think it is important for books on these subjects to be directed at children and young adults?
If I had written this book for adults I would have had to pad it with fluff and I don’t like writing fluff. I wanted to write a short but powerful and historically accurate novel. That by definition is a young adult novel.

The experiences of Ali in Dance of the Banished were based on actual events that took place in Canada during World War I, but that were forgotten for nearly a century. How did you come across the story?
Ali is interned by Canada in WWI. I knew about this incident for quite some time as my own grandfather had been interned. What I didn’t know was that 100 men who had emigrated from the Ottoman Empire and lived in Brantford had been interned. That information was brought to me by two Brantford historians. Figuring out who these men were became a journey in itself.

This year has been a time of commemoration both for the Armenian Genocide and the internment of so-called enemy aliens in Canada during World War I. You have been involved in events and speaking engagements for both. Have you had any particularly memorable experiences?
The local commemoration of the centenary of WWI internment took place on August 22, which was a Friday, and we began it at 11am. Despite it being held right before a long weekend and in the middle of a work day, the church hall was packed. Most people interned had been Ukrainian, but people from all different backgrounds came out. One woman who came out was Sharon Gashgarian, who was of Ukrainian heritage but had married an Armenian. She was blown away by the cover art on Dance of the Banished and contacted me later, asking permission to create a fabric art work based on the cover art. I contacted Pascal Milelli, the artist commissioned to create a painting for the cover, and he was fine with Sharon’s request.

I bought the original, and showed it to Sharon.

Tonight (April 21) I did a reading at the Brantford Public Library to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. This was part of a worldwide reading event to pay tribute to the many writers who have been killed for speaking out about the Genocide. Sharon attended, and she brought her fabric art. I brought Pascal’s original and we have both of them up on easels, covered with Ukrainian shawls. We revealed them both to the audience and Sharon presented me with her art work. It is breathtaking.

For the rest of the month, Sharon’s fabric art will be hanging in the front window of the Brantford Public Library, surrounded by my books and other books about the Armenian Genocide.

Click here to download this interview in PDF format.

 

A “story of hope and fear, love and determination, and the universal significance of bearing witness”—Booklist

Posted on April 21st, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“Ali and his fiancée, Zeynep, are Anatolian Alevi Kurds facing the hardships imposed by Turkish revolutionary forces. Ali preemptively immigrates to Kapuskasing, Ontario, but is identified as an enemy alien and imprisoned in an internment camp. Zeynep’s journey to find her future with Ali takes her from 1914 to 1916, from Harput, Anatolia, to Kars, Russia, and eventually to Brantford, Ontario, where she expects Ali to be gainfully employed and living on Darling Street. Skrypuch tells their story, which is based on true events, through descriptive journal passages in which the characters address each other with courage and longing. Eventually, Zeynep’s eyewitness chronicle is discovered by the American consul and used as testimony against war crimes. The author’s somber rendering of WWI atrocities against Armenians is reminiscent of fellow Canadian author Deborah Ellis’ caring attention to modern-day Afghan refugees and Middle Eastern youth living in conflict. There are many lessons for young readers in this story of hope and fear, love and determination, and the universal significance of bearing witness.”

—Gail Bush

Marking 40 Years Since the Vietnamese Orphan Airlift

Posted on April 13th, 2015 by pajamapress

LastAirlift_Website 40 years ago this month, approximately 3,000 orphans, mostly babies, were hurried onto airplanes departing Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). The city was about to fall to the North Vietnamese forces, and humanitarian organizations worried that many orphans, especially those fathered by American soldiers or those with disabilities, would be at risk. Families in Canada, the United States, and other nations signed up to adopt the evacuated orphans.

OneStepAtATimeThe project, known as the “Orphan Airlift” in Canada and “Operation Babylift” in the United States, is not without controversy, but for Tuyet Morris, Née Son Thi Anh Tuyet, it was the beginning of a miraculous new life. Older than the other orphans and physically disabled from polio, she had never expected to be adopted. The story of her rescue on the final Canadian airlift, her adoption into the loving Morris family, and her determined struggle to walk and play like other children, is recounted in the juvenile biographies Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War and One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way. Author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch reflects on the experience of discovering Tuyet’s story:


“It was a revelation to finally discover Tuyet. I had been wanting to write about the airlift rescue for quite some time and had wanted to write the story from the point of view of one of the rescued children. But because most of those rescued were babies at the time, it meant my days were spent interviewing adoptive parents and the story from their perspective. Interesting and poignant, yes, but not the story I wanted to tell.

And then, through the grapevine, I found out that the oldest orphan on that last flight to Canada lived in my own home town. Not only that, but she lived around the corner from my old house and her kids went to the same school that my son had gone to.

I looked up her phone number and called out of the blue. She was receptive and friendly and agreed to meet. We chose a local Vietnamese restaurant.

And the rest, they say, is history.”

—Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

More content related to the Orphan Airlift:

 

Dance of the Banished “an outstanding testament to Skrypuch’s mastery”—Canadian Children’s Book News

Posted on February 12th, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“It is June 1913, when Ali breaks the news to his fiancée Zeynep that he will be leaving their Anatolian village to go to Canada. Once there, he hopes to finally be able to save enough money to pay for her passage, and to build a new life for them there. But the world is on the brink of war and everything soon changes. The two record the events that they both witness in journal entries to each other, even though they both fear that they will never see one another again.

Alternating between these two sets of journal entries, readers learn Zeynep’s story of going to live and work with Christian missionaries. As World War I looms, she witnesses first-hand the horrors of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Young Turks who now control the government. Conditions for her and the other Alevi Kurds are only marginally better, but that is small consolation as she watches Armenian men, women and children being cruelly treated and marched to their deaths. Meanwhile, in Canada, Ali and the other Alevi Kurds who had tried to settle in Brantford, Ontario, are falsely accused of a crime and sent to an internment camp in northern Ontario. As these two separate stories unfold, a vivid and devastating picture unfolds.

This latest work is an outstanding testament to Skrypuch’s mastery as a writer of historical fiction for young readers. She has created forthright and dramatic accounts of two little-known events from that time period, inviting readers of all ages to try to understand the depth of suffering that these groups have experienced. She has put a profoundly human face on the horrors of war while also creating an insightful portrait of the Alevi Kurds. Zeynep and Ali are both forced to mature very quickly, and their development is convincing. Skrypuch skillfully captures their voices, their longing, their heartbreak and their courage.”

—Lisa Doucet

“History comes alive” in Dance of the BanishedVOYA

Posted on January 12th, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“Canadian author Skrypuch, who has written several other well-received historical novels about World War I and the Armenian Genocide, has created an absorbing glimpse into a dark period in world history and the human consequences of war. Most of the novel is told through letters that Zeynep writes (but does not send) to Ali; as she becomes involved in protecting the Armenian people, these letters become an eye-witness account to the atrocities being committed against them. Ali, picked up as a Turk enemy alien (he and Zeynep are actually Alevi Kurds) and sent to the Kapuskasing prison internment camp, tells less of the story, including a subplot about his involvement with a young Cree woman who wants to become a nurse.

…The history comes alive, particularly in Zeynep’s chapters, and fans of historical or war novels, who may not know much about the Canadian internment camps or the Armenian Genocide, will surely be engaged enough to do further research (this reviewer did).”

Dance of the Banished an “eye-opening exposé”—Kirkus Reviews

Posted on January 10th, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“World War I separates a betrothed Anatolian couple—leaving one to witness the Armenian genocide and sending the other to a prison camp…in Canada. Cast as letters and journal entries, the double narrative records the experiences of Zeynep, a villager transplanted to the “mighty city of Harput,” and Ali, who is swept up with other supposed enemy aliens and shipped to a remote camp in central Ontario before he can send for Zeynep. Neither is of Turkish descent: They are Kurds practicing the ancient, indigenous Alevi faith. These distinctions make no difference to Canadian authorities in Ali’s case, but they do give Zeynep some protection as she records a rising tide of atrocities committed against her Armenian (Christian) friends and neighbors…An eye-opening exposé of historical outrages committed in two countries, with intriguing glimpses of a minority group that is not well-known in the Americas”

“This moving book will enlighten,” The Calgary Herald says of Dance of the Banished

Posted on November 3rd, 2014 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_HR_RGB“Based on true events, this story takes place in Anatolia and Canada in 1914, during the break-out of the First World War. When Ali moves to Canada to secure a better life for himself and Zeynep, they communicate by journals. It’s a love story filled with tragedy when Ali is forced into a Canadian internment camp, and Zeynep faces horrors as the Ottoman Army marches through her villages. This moving book will enlighten and appeal to readers ages 12 to adult.”

—Barbra Hesson