"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."
(1993) ~ Anna Quindlen ~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Salon, Gloria Whelan, After the Train

Anne of Green Gables Winner

My apologies first of all to anyone trying to access this new site. I have had trouble on my end posting to it. Things seem to be ok now. Hopefully! So with trepidation I am announcing that The Burns has won the trilogy for the Anne of Green Gables book set. Please send me your snail mail address so that I can send your prize to you.

Gloria Whelan, After the Train

I reviewed After the Train by Gloria Whelan for Harper Collins. Being a fan of Whelan and a librarian in an elementary school I was looking forward to this new book. Once again, she has presented a realistic historical fictional snapshot of a period of time we can only visit. Adventure, suspense and a lesson for all time is what awaits the reader. A terrific book for teaching tolerance and equality.

After the Train
Gloria Whelan

It all starts with Peter’s recurring nightmares, always the same, always including the appearance of the same woman. He knows she must be someone he should know, and this leads him to search through his mother’s private things. After finding a small photo amidst his snooping he thinks he has all his questions answered. What happens next in this fast paced thrilling adventure of intrigue and self-discovery will have you reflecting and thinking about After the Train for days.

Gloria Whelan's poetic prose drops you right in the middle of post WWII as a witness to Peter's pursuit for the truth. The text is so real it moves with each character's step and each person's dialogue. You are in the story, not an outsider peering in. Her setting is so detailed and richly described, you can close your eyes and you are there. Peter’s friends are so true to character, so well developed, you can easily step in as a substitute.

A wonderful story for teaching tolerance and prejudice of any race, culture or gender. This book reminded me in some ways of Crispen, A Cross of Lead by Avi. Peter, and Crispen are both searching for their birthright and the truth, no matter what they may discover. Both characters face difficult challenges as they are coming of age. After the Train is the perfect book for literature circles, reading groups and classroom discussions. An ideal book to get children to think critically about the possibility of this scenario (prejudice, genocide) repeating again in places we see already( (Darfur) as we all become related in a large global village. Highly recommended.