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A Little Piece of Ground

A Little Piece of Ground

3.0 2
by Elizabeth Laird, Bill Neal (Illustrator), Sonia Nimr (With)

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A Little Piece Of Ground will help young readers understand more about one of the worst conflicts afflicting our world today.

Written by Elizabeth Laird, one of Great Britain’s best-known young adult authors, A Little Piece Of Ground explores the human cost of the occupation of Palestinian lands through the eyes of a young


A Little Piece Of Ground will help young readers understand more about one of the worst conflicts afflicting our world today.

Written by Elizabeth Laird, one of Great Britain’s best-known young adult authors, A Little Piece Of Ground explores the human cost of the occupation of Palestinian lands through the eyes of a young boy.

Twelve-year-old Karim Aboudi and his family are trapped in their Ramallah home by a strict curfew. In response to a Palestinian suicide bombing, the Israeli military subjects the West Bank town to a virtual siege. Meanwhile, Karim, trapped at home with his teenage brother and fearful parents, longs to play football with his friends. When the curfew ends, he and his friend discover an unused patch of ground that’s the perfect site for a football pitch. Nearby, an old car hidden intact under bulldozed building makes a brilliant den. But in this city there’s constant danger, even for schoolboys. And when Israeli soldiers find Karim outside during the next curfew, it seems impossible that he will survive.

This powerful book fills a substantial gap in existing young adult literature on the Middle East. With 23,000 copies already sold in the United Kingdom and Canada, this book is sure to find a wide audience among young adult readers in the United States.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kristy Lyn Sutorius
Set in occupied Palestine, Laird's work minces no words about the very real difficulties Palestinians experience under Israel's control. Karim, likes many boys in his neighborhood obsesses over soccer and computer games. When Israeli soldiers bomb his school and humiliate his father, Karim experiences new emotions—anger, shame, and disgust. Together with Hopper, a boy from the nearby refugee camp and his buddy Joni, Karim clears a rocky plot of land for a soccer field. As the boys grow closer to Hopper, their activities become more daring. A gritty companion to Samir and Yonotan by Daniella Carmi, but purely Palestinian in its perspective, the work also examines class differences within Palestinian society. A backdrop of curfews and bombings create a palpable tension throughout. Despite the grim outlook for Karim and the boys he runs with, their pride endures. Laird refused to rewrite the story of two enemies becoming friends and instead has created a stunning, sobering book that will fill a void in many Young Adult collections.
KLIATT - Amanda MacGregor
Karim, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, lives under the constant watchful eye of the Israeli military. His town, Ramallah, is often subject to curfew, which means Karim spends a lot of time in his home with his family. He tries to maintain some sense of normalcy: he plays video games, does schoolwork, fights with his brother, and calls friends on his cell phone. He also dreams about what he would like to do with his life. In addition to wishing to become a famous soccer player, Karim would like to be the liberator of Palestine. When curfew is lifted, Karim always rushes right out to play soccer. He usually plays alone, kicking the ball at a wall. Then he meets Hopper, and together they discover a land that is perfect for their soccer practice. Karim, Hopper, and Joni meet there daily to play. When they stay out past curfew one day, Karim is forced to hide from the Israeli army. The soccer field where Karim spent such joyful afternoons is now his hiding ground. Laird firmly places the reader in Ramallah right alongside Karim, opening his world to new eyes. Readers witness the restlessness, humiliation, anger, and peril that permeate every moment of Karim's life. Young readers will relate to the universal themes of growing up, despite Karim living his childhood in extraordinary circumstances. Well-written and compelling, this is an excellent addition to any collection and filled with potential for classroom discussions.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Karim, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, works with two friends to transform an abandoned lot in Ramallah-the "little piece of ground"-into a soccer field and a getaway from the trials of both family and life under occupation. Hopper, a new friend who had until recently lived in a refugee camp and whose older brother is in the custody of the Israelis, and Joni, a Christian boy whose family has always been close to Karim's, represent in some ways the opposite poles that Karim yo-yos between. Hopper is somewhat suspect, simply because he was a refugee. Furthermore, his actions are brash and defiant; he stands up to an Israeli tank, brandishing an eggplant like a grenade and swinging from its gun. The town is put under Israeli curfew, and first Hopper and later Karim are shot at by soldiers and wounded, Karim seriously enough to require hospitalization. Throughout this powerful narrative, the authors remain true to Karim's character and reactions. He is a typical self-centered adolescent who longs to hang out with his friends, go to school, and play sports. His parents and relatives provide some of the necessary background information and commentary about the occupation. At the book's end, Karim is allowed to spend time outside for the first time since his wound, and is reunited with Hopper. The boys attend a celebration and are chillingly greeted as heroes. As notable in its way as James D. Forman's historical novels of the late '60s and '70s, A Little Piece of Ground deserves serious attention and discussion.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Haymarket Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.50(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Multiple award-winning novelist Elizabeth Laird is the author of numerous children's books based on themes of social inequality. She lives in Surrey, England. Sonia Nimr is a lecturer at Bir Zeit University in Palestine.

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A Little Piece of Ground 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't like it because it is just like every other Palestinian War books
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written book that puts a human face on the suffering of the Palestinians under the illegal Israeli occupation of their land. Despite the terrible day to day circumstances that Palestinian children have to endure, nothing is able to suppress their irresistible desire to play. If you want to know how much misery is caused by our billions of dollars per year that the USA sends to Israel, read this book.