Monday, October 22, 2012

Thunderous Whisper by Christina Diaz Gonzalez - Review and Blog Tour

Gonzalez, Christina Diaz. A Thunderous Whisper. Knopf/Random House Children's Books, 2012. 304p.  $16.99. 978-0-375-86929-7.

Historical Fiction - World War II -
  Guernica, Spain ("The Bombing of Guernica, 1937," EyeWitness to History, (2005))

My Thoughts
"Life isn't always fair." "But it's what you do about the unfairness that counts."

I hope that in the face of adversity, I would stand up and risk danger. But, despite the FEAR NOT ring I wear, I don't know if I have it in me.  Unlike Anetxu and Mathias.

Anetxu has a tough life. Her older brother died from polio and her elderly father is away fighting in the Spanish Civil War.  Her and her mother are trying to survive by selling sardines to the poor.  Consequently, she becomes known as Sardine Girl, that is, when people notice her.  Sardine Girl has no friends. She also spends a lot of time helping her mother, who is not the most affectionate person.

"Best that you realize early on that people always leave...Can't get too attached or else you won't survive."

Anetxu spends her days barely living just going to school and then helping her mother make sardine sales until she meets Mathias. They don't hit it off right away but gradually, as Anextu grows up, they become best friends. The give and take in their conversations is fun and gives Ani, Mathias' nickname for Anextu, something to look forward to. He even helps her stand up to a bully. As they become closer, Mathias gets Ani to help him support his father, the spy.

Gonzalez does a great job of describing her setting. Guernica comes to life, especially the area around Ani's favorite tree, the schoolyard, and the beautiful old theater. Ani's character is also carefully written.  She slowly comes out of her shell as she learns about herself. She is not suddenly brave and different but events reveal her inner self and we are taken along with her. Mathias, on the other hand, is more of a sketch of a boy with everything spelled out. We know who he is and what to expect from him, no surprises. This doesn't lessen our immersion into A Thunderous Whisper. The focus on the bombing of Guernica, what leads up to it and the aftermath, keeps us reading. A Thunderous Whisper adds a missing element to a study of World War II and would be a welcome addition to literature circle discussion. I give it 4 copies.

A WWII Study
A few books that I've read that cover a similar time period and would fit a study.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Tropical Secrets by Margarita Engle
Born to Fly by Michael Ferrari

About the Author
Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the author of the award-winning and best-selling children’s novel, THE RED UMBRELLA. Ms. Gonzalez’s debut novel (the story of a 14 year old Cuban girl who is sent to the U.S. in 1961 as part of Operation Pedro Pan) showcases the generosity of the American spirit and highlights the pain of losing one’s homeland. Reviewers from publications such as The Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and School Library Journal have praised the book as being exceptional, compelling and inspirational.

The Brain Lair reviews The Red Umbrella.

Other Read Now Sleep Later Book Tour Dates
Wednesday, October 24 - Read Now Sleep Later (Podcast Interview and Giveaway)
Friday, October 26 - Cindy L. Rodriguez (Review and Interview)
Monday, October 29 - There's a Book (Review)
November - HeiseReads (Review and Interview)
Friday, November 2 - Princess Bookie (Review and Giveaway)
Friday, November 9 - (Q&A, Review, and Giveaway)
Friday, November 16 - Steph Su Reads (Giveaway and Interview)

Thank you to Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Knopf Books for Young Readers for this ARC.

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