Sunday, February 21, 2021

Book Review: The Parkour Club by Pam Withers and Arooj Hayat (YA)

 Building bridges of understanding with fast-paced prose.

Published in Canada by Pam Withers and Arooj Hayat

Published in 2020

Disclaimer:  Pam Withers and I are friends--and she gave me this book to review.

Bronte Miller's dad Frank is a famous war correspondent who covers all of the Middle East. A year ago Bronte moved with her parents to what Frank calls, '"one of the safest neighbourhoods in one of the safest cities in the Middle East."' (p.2)

Bronte loves her life in Alexandria, Egypt. She's actively involved in the Alexandria Parkour Academy and she even has a boyfriend.

Bronte describes Sarfraz, her 'secret boyfriend', as 'gentle and mysterious' (p. 6) Unfortunately, he's rather cold and distant to Bronte--even refusing to be seen with her in public.

When a bomb goes off in their neighbourhood, Bronte's mom Karen drags Bronte back home to Richland, Washington, USA. To put it mildly, Bronte is upset by this uprooting. So much so that Karen can't help but notice. She tells her daughter, '"Have you considered talking to a counsellor, Bronte? You seem to have anger issues, and you're sad and tired a lot."' (p. 31)

On the other hand...

Karam Saif is a new student at Three Rivers High School and is enrolled in Bronte's grade eleven class. 

Karam left all he knew in his beautiful city of Aden, Yemen behind him. His entire family was killed as they attempted to flee. He is now alone in what Bronte calls, 'A country that insists in believing that the desperate refugees fleeing from terrorists are the terrorists themselves.' (p. 129) And yet, with unshakable positivity, Karam is eager to embrace his new life.

Karam Saif is a Muslim refugee. Bronte Miller is a white privileged American. Can they build bridges of understanding?

Karam:  '"I believe parkour teaches us to incorporate unexpected obstacles without losing stride. It teaches flexibility and resilience and acceptance."' (p. 37)

Pam Withers writes in her Author Notes:  'we [both she and her co-author Arooj Hayat] both hope the book will inspire cross-cultural, cross-religious insight and tolerance.' 

Interview with Pam Withers

on Wednesday, February 24

Online Author Reading of...

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by Leanne Dyck

meeting a magical child on a dark night

on Wednesday, February 28

Short Story...

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learning from watching children play

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