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Secrets in the Fire


Short Description: Ages 9-12
Authors : Henning Mankell
  • Publisher: Annick Press
  • Pages: 166
  • Hard Cover: False
  • ISBN: 9781550378009
  • Publishing Date: 2003

Running with her sister in the fields near their village in Mozambique, southern Africa, Sofia steps on a landmine. She loses both her legs, and her sister dies. Swedish writer Mankell, recognized for his adult mysteries, knows the real Sofia and her country, and his novel, originally published in Sweden and translated here with simple clarity, dramatizes the landmine horror, especially its devastating toll on children. With the help of a dedicated doctor, a priest, and hospital caregivers, Sofia is fitted with two artificial legs and learns to walk again. Mankell never denies how the difficulties Sofia faces--the pain, grief, and family separation (her stepfather won't have her in the house), and the poverty in the war-ravaged country, where school is one classroom without books, paper, pens, or chalk. The resolution is hopeful; Sofia learns to use a sewing machine and support herself, but the physical reality is always visible as she straps on her legs every day. One of the first books to dramatize the global landmine crisis for children, this docu-novel will grab readers with the truth of one child's terror and courage.