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by Jane Kurtz

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-15-201074-2
Publisher: Harcourt

Based in fact, this is an original, powerful story of two Ethiopian girls who become refugees in the 1980s. A year after her family was killed while she hid in a cave nearby, Sahay is routed from her home by her uncle, before enemies arrive to take their land. One of the Kemant people, Sahay fears the evil eye of the “Falasha.” Alternating chapters introduce Rahel, a blind Beta-Israel girl who dislikes being called a Falasha, and who summons all her courage to convince her family to include her beloved grandmother on the journey they must undertake. Political events hasten the plans, and Sahay and Rahel are thrown together. After an extreme and terrifying journey, they reach a Red Cross camp in the Sudan where they search for other survivors from their region, certain they will die from sickness or malnutrition. Then Rahel learns of a plan to go to Israel, and convinces Sahay to pretend to be her sister. The story is beautifully told in words and phrases that enhance the exotic locale and situation of the two endangered girls, who are richly portrayed. Kurtz keeps the focus personal but never allows larger events to dissipate in this engrossing tale. (map, glossary, not seen) (Fiction. 8-12)