Books by Hazel Rochman

LEAVING HOME by Hazel Rochman
Released: Feb. 28, 1997

A bus trip or first day of school, a new crop to pick or a war to fight—all require a separation from family, a leaving— the thematic heart of this emotional, eclectic anthology of short stories, poems, and excerpts. Runaways, strays, castoffs, and foster kids inhabit these previously published pieces about initiation into adulthood—each an unglamorous, everyday hero's journey of sorts. A bus ride offers solace from a stranger in ``Dawn,'' by Tim Wynne-Jones, and provides an invitation of self-discovery in Annette Sanford's ``Trip in a Summer Dress.'' A five-year-old, ``full up with anger and scaredness,'' learns a life-giving dance in Vickie Sears's ``Dancer.'' Whatever the circumstance, each work involves a severing of the umbilical cord of youth—a child or teenager thrown out of the safety of family, left to chance and fate. Excerpts from the adult works of Sandra Cisneros, Amy Tan, Toni Morrison, and Tim O'Brien add a cast of characters whose sophisticated insights stretch beyond the typical scope of stories for YAs. But every piece stands alone as a sharp slice of character, setting, and feeling. Rochman and McCampbell (Bearing Witness, 1995, etc.) have created not a standard first-kiss, coming-of-age road map, but a mosaic of uniquely shaped, cross- cultural perspectives written with grit and grace, leaving readers with the satisfying sense that something shattered has been pieced back together. (Anthology. 12+) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

Much of the most evocative writing about the Holocaust has been gathered in this excellent collection by the editors of Who Do You Think You Are? (1993). The presence of several of the contributors seems mandatory: Elie Wiesel, with his speech for the opening of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and an excerpt from Night (1960); Art Spiegelman, with an excerpt from Maus (1986); Primo Levi, with recollections from Survival in Auschwitz (1959); Cynthia Ozick and ``The Shawl'' (1983). The editors also include pieces that speak directly to young readers—Ida Vos on childhood in occupied Holland, excerpts from Carl Friedman's Nightfather (1994), and oral pieces and poetry. These selections are hard—even elusive for young readers—but collected here have a power that may prove unforgettable. (bibliography) (Anthology. 12+) Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1993

From 15 authors, as many stories and excerpts from longer, sometimes autobiographical works—together developing the collection's theme with a subtlety and power transcending its splendid components. With unusual intelligence and imagination, the editors have chosen stories of the highest caliber to explore a subject of vital interest to YAs: the fascinating variety in friendship's love/hate relationships. Ray Bradbury's opener depicts the unexpected anger experienced when a best friend moves away; Joyce Carol Oates evokes a mesmerizing man who, wheedling and threatening, lures a feckless teenager from her home to a fate left to the horrified imagination; Louise Erdrich portrays a suicidal vet who still loves his friend enough to go along with the elaborate charade the friend has devised to restore his interest in life; stricken with horror and compassion, Tim O'Brien visualizes the Vietnamese soldier he has just killed as husband, scholar, and fellow man. The earliest story here is Carson McCullers's ``Sucker'' (1940)—a boy's egocentric posturing destroys his younger cousin's trust just as he's beginning to value it; the last entry, concluding a collection as extraordinary for its variety as for its richness, is Maya Angelou's seminal encounter with an awe-inspiring mentor. Not to be missed. (Short stories. 12+) Read full book review >