Results of the Batchelder Award in the year 2011.
Blaise Fortune, also known as Koumaïl, loves hearing the story of how he came to live with Gloria in the Republic of Georgia: Gloria was picking peaches in her father’s orchard when she heard a train derail. After running to the site of the accident, she found an injured woman who asked Gloria to take her baby. The woman, Gloria claims, was French, and the baby was Blaise.
When Blaise turns seven years old, the Soviet Union collapses and Gloria decides that she and Blaise must flee the political troubles and civil unrest in Georgia. The two make their way westward on foot, heading toward France, where Gloria says they will find safe haven. But what exactly is the truth about Blaise’s past?
Bits and pieces are revealed as he and Gloria endure a five-year journey across the Caucasus and Europe, weathering hardships and welcoming unforgettable encounters with other refugees searching for a better life. During this time Blaise grows from a boy into an adolescent; but only later, as a young man, can he finally attempt to untangle his identity.
Bondoux’s heartbreaking tale of exile, sacrifice, hope, and survival is a story of ultimate love.
A run-down hotel on a bare plain: the only hiding place for a girl in the rain. Once inside, a fox offers her a chair. A suspicious rat acts like he has met her before. But she can’t remember anything. Not even her own name…. At the hotel she finds more questions than answers. She hears piano music, but can’t find the piano. And what about the pieces of paper flying around the plain? While she tries to mend these pieces together, the pieces in her mind start to come together as well. And then she remembers the question she really wants to be answered.
Departure Time is an amazing journey of a girl in two stories. There is the girl in the hotel with the fox and the rat. And there is the girl with a father who travels a lot and who suggests to write a story together. A story about talking animals. But she doesn’t want to. She is angry with him, because he can’t make her birthday in time. Again. The two stories slowly start to intertwine and come together in a surprising ending.
“From the moment you are born, you start to die.”
“The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. You’ll live to be a maximum of one hundred. Life isn’t worth the bother!”
So says Pierre Anthon when he decides that there is no meaning to life, leaves the classroom, climbs a plum tree, and stays there.
His friends and classmates cannot get him to come down, not even by pelting him with rocks. So to prove to him that there is a meaning to life, they set out to build a heap of meaning in an abandoned sawmill. …[more]