Call Me Aram

Call Me Aram

by Marsha Skrypuch, Muriel Wood
     
 

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Aram Davidian is one of a group of Armenian refugee orphans who made the trip from Corfu, Greece to a new home in Canada, at a farm in Georgetown, Ontario. And like the others, Aram is delighted with the beauty of his new home and the kindness of the people taking care of them.

But adjusting to a new home isn't easy. None of the Canadians speak

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Overview

Aram Davidian is one of a group of Armenian refugee orphans who made the trip from Corfu, Greece to a new home in Canada, at a farm in Georgetown, Ontario. And like the others, Aram is delighted with the beauty of his new home and the kindness of the people taking care of them.

But adjusting to a new home isn't easy. None of the Canadians speak Armenian, and the boys are left to puzzle out their hosts' bewildering language and customs. While Aram can't really understand why they must eat the steamy mess called porridge every day, he and the other boys are delighted by the strange candies and fruits they have never experienced before. Slowly they must learn that it isn't necessary to horde their food; more comes every day. There is so much to confuse and delight. They cannot understand why their Canadian host wants them to stand under water coming out of a wall when they can just jump in the pond to get clean. But the ice box and stove are wonders of modern life.

Despite the many pleasant distractions, Aram misses his young friend, Mgerdich. Injured on the long journey to Canada, Mgerdich is alone in a hospital in France. And what is more disturbing is that Aram and the other boys have been given new names, English names, to go by. If they are forced to discard their Armenian names, how will their extended families find them again one day? Even the final arrival of Mgerdich does not cheer up Aram, who cannot explain to his young friend why he must have a new name. As much as they want to forget the hardships and tragedies of their past lives, the boys can't understand why they must give up their identities. With a little help from an Armenian translator, Aramat last has the chance to thank his kind hosts for all their care and explain why he and the others must always keep their names.

Call Me Aram is the sequel to My Name is Aram, which was nominated for the Silver Birch Award and the CLA's Children's Book of the Year Award.

New Beginnings is a series of historical chapter books for newly independent readers between the ages of eight and eleven. Each novel concerns a boy or girl facing the challenges of adapting to life in a new culture in North America. Every New Beginnings title is well researched, illustrated in full color throughout, and accompanied by an index and glossary.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—In Aram's Choice (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2006), some boys orphaned by the Turkish/Armenian conflict of the 1920s make a harrowing journey from a refugee camp in Greece to a new home in Canada. Call Me Aram picks up the boys' story in 1923, soon after they arrive at a farm in Georgetown, Ontario. Aram Davidian, one of the older orphans, takes on a leadership role as the group tries to adjust to new foods, customs, and the expectations of the kind people who have taken them in but cannot understand their language. The tone is child-appropriate. Parts are humorous, others more serious, as when the boys object to changing their traditional Armenian family names to Canadian ones. As would be expected, there is underlying sadness in the boys' having to leave their country. The author does not go into much detail about the war or violence except in one scene that describes the fate of Aram's father. The author listened to oral-history recordings of real people involved in the Georgetown Farm project and incorporated their memories into the story. The full-color paintings have an unsophisticated quality that suits the descriptions of children in a bucolic setting. While this book stands alone, it would have greater impact if read along with the earlier title.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
From the Publisher
"Call Me Aram is a good choice for spearheading discussions about the trials of new Canadians. The book provides a realistic portrayal of the homesickness, difficulties with language and other problems faced by displaced immigrants. The theme of maintaining a cultural identity, even when harboured by well-meaning sponsors, is explored. As in Aram's Choice, Muriel Wood's luminous illustrations help to clarify the text.

Recommended"

-- CM Magazine

"Skrypuch's tale is an affecting one, made even more so by artist Woods's limpid paintings of the bucolic Canadian farmland."

-- The Globe and Mail

"The full-color paintings have an unsophisticated quality that suits the descriptions of children in a bucolic setting. While this book stands alone, it will have greater impact if read along with the earlier title (Aram's Choice)."

-- School Library Journal

"Based on historical fact, this story is powerful in teaching readers today of history, cross-cultural understanding, and charity. That which the boys find strange - ice boxes, wood stoves, porridge with cream - today's reader might easily find equally unfamiliar. Skrypuch's narrative voice, in explaining how Aram's culture differs from Canada, also reveals how 1923 Canada differs from our world today. There are many learning opportunities in this text; the depth to which the issues can be explored can be tailored to the age and maturity of the reading audience. The addition of the glossary and historical notes lends validity to the text, rendering it not only a beautiful tale, but an inspiring part of our national history.

Rating: E - Excellent"

-- Resource Links

"Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, an accomplished and prize-winning novelist, has written an inspired novel for young readers about the consequences of the Armenian genocide. . . She does meticulous research and pays close attention to accuracy of historical detail. . . Murial Wood's illustrations add a powerful visual dimension to the story. . . Call Me Aram is a powerful novel based on firsthand accounts of actual historical events which will appeal to young readers and adults."

-- Curled up with a good kids book

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554550012
Publisher:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
11/08/2008
Series:
New Begininngs
Pages:
88
Sales rank:
1,124,987
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Marsha Skrypuch is the author of many books for children, including Silver Threads, The Best Gifts, Enough, The Hunger and Hope's War. Among the numerous writing awards won her novel about the Armenian genocide, Nobody's Child, was nominated for the Red Maple Award, the Alberta Rocky Mountain Book Award, the B.C. Stellar Award; and it was listed by Resource Links as a Best Book.

Muriel Wood's illustrations have appeared in a number of children's books, including Old Bird, L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, and Margaret Laurence's The Olden Day's Coat. She has also illustrated the three previous titles in the New Beginnings series, Scared Sarah, Lizzie's Storm, and Aram's Choice. A former instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Muriel now draws and paints fulltime. She lives with her husband and two cats in Toronto, Ontario.

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