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So Much for Democracy
By author: Kari Jones
Selling Points: "political unrest, Ghana, independence, family "
ISBN: 9781459804814
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2014
Pages: 184
Fiction Ages 9-12
Availability: In stock.
Price:  $9.95
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Twelve-year-old Astrid has come to Ghana with her family in 1979 so that her father can help oversee Ghana’s first democratic election. Astrid and her brother, Gordo, were told it would be a great family adventure, but they soon find out that everything about Ghana is difficult—the heat, the food, the threat of disease, the soldiers on the roads, the schools. Gordo fits in more easily than Astrid, who is often left to look after her baby sister, Piper, as their mother begins to fall apart under the strain of living in Ghana. When the government is overthrown, Gordo comes down with malaria and a soldier threatens her family, Astrid is surprised to discover how protective she has become of her new home.

The Dragon Lode - April 1, 2015
"[A] thought-provoking historical fiction novel...Astrid demonstrates kindness and courage in the face of the political and social backdrop surrounding the Ghanaian community."
Reading Today Online - June 30, 2014
"Scenes filled with tension, including one in which a soldier takes away their mother’s purse, make the story gripping to middle grade readers. This is a great book for understanding another culture and the struggles of a nation."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books - June 1, 2014
"The social backdrop of the story provides an interesting counterpoint to this coming-of-age story...The sights and sounds of the city are vividly conveyed and the expatriate experience is thoughtfully rendered."
School Library Journal - May 1, 2014
"Astrid is an honorable character for whom readers will root."
Booklist - April 15, 2014
"Astrid, her younger brother, and her friend Thema are well-developed young characters, and the relationships Ghanaians have with each other and Astrid’s family are compelling. Astrid’s first-person narration is appropriately childlike, and her youthful perspective is a concise, honest glimpse into an event relatively unknown in the U.S."
CM Magazine - April 4, 2014
"Astrid is a strong and courageous female character who takes on the role of being a responsible and caring older sibling to Gordo and Piper...Jones’ story provides readers with an emotionally captivating look into a family’s anxieties as the unit transitions to life in a new country... [and] richly depicts Astrid’s strength and commitment to her family as they endure stress and battle sickness and fear...The book educates readers about a family’s emotional situation and social conditions surrounding life in 1979 in Ghana...[and] provides educators the opportunity to have active discussions with their students about the integral role which government, elections, democracy, and freedom play in society. Highly Recommended."
Resource Links - April 1, 2014
"The political context for the story would be of interest to students learning about African history, or for anyone wanting to learn about recent changes in countries in Africa. Astrid is an interesting character because of how strong she is in the face of difficulties at home with her mother, and managing her siblings and friends. There are multiple ways of looking at and enjoying this book."
Kirkus Reviews - March 1, 2014
"A thought-provoking study of a family caught up in both political and domestic crises in a foreign land."
BC BookLook - January 1, 2014
"A convincing example of how social fear can invade the home—no matter where that home might be."

Awards

Junior Library Guild selection, commended  US  2014
CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2014
Hackmatack Children's Choice Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2015

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