I admit I found myself mentally shouting, "Look out! Get out of there!" to the characters. This is a very moving story.
Radiant Girlby Andrea White
A young girl's birthday is usually full of surprises and joy, but for Katya Dubko, it is truly the end of the world as she knows it. This coming-of-age story follows the life of Katya, an eleven-year old Ukrainian girl whose life is turned upside down after the Chernobyl disaster. Katya lives in a village near Chernobyl and her father works at the nuclear power station. Her family is steeped in Soviet patriotism and she believes that the station is a magical factory. When Katya is sent into the forest to play while her family prepares for her birthday, she meets a mysterious, other-worldly boy named Sammy, who tells her about the meltdown at Chernobyl. Sammy reveals the truth about the station and about blind Soviet patriotism, and Katya's innocent world is destroyed. With Sammy's help, she realizes she is no longer a little girl in a fairy tale but has become the author of her own life.
The 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in the USSR had far-reaching effects, not only on the environment, but on people's lives as well. The author reveals these effects in this coming-of-age story. Katya Dubko celebrates her 11th birthday the day before the accident. When her father, a security guard at the station and obviously suffering from radiation sickness, comes home with the news, Katya's life is forever changed. Although she is forewarned about the disaster by a strange boy-her domovyk , or house elf-she is nonetheless unprepared. The government evacuates families, and Katya's beloved cottage, along with her childhood, are buried under tons of soil. She spends the next few years struggling to understand the catastrophe; the unwavering patriotism of her father, who has thyroid cancer; and discrimination from her peers. Photographs related to the disaster and Atkinson's traditional Ukrainian illustrations occasionally break up the text. References lend to the credibility of the content, and a glossary helps with difficult terminology.-Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY
Meet the Author
Andrea White has published several short stories and is the author of Surviving Antarctica, which won the Golden Spur Children's Literature Award, and Window Boy.
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