Running on Eggs

Running on Eggs

by Anna Levine, Annalee Levine
     
 

It all starts when Karen and Yasmine trade lunch boxes. Such an act would hardly raise eyebrows anywhere else, but Karen lives on an Israeli kibbutz and Yasmine in a nearby Palestinian village, and distrust between the two cultures runs deep. Karen's father was killed several years ago in the war in Lebanon, and her family still hasn't fully accepted the loss.

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Overview

It all starts when Karen and Yasmine trade lunch boxes. Such an act would hardly raise eyebrows anywhere else, but Karen lives on an Israeli kibbutz and Yasmine in a nearby Palestinian village, and distrust between the two cultures runs deep. Karen's father was killed several years ago in the war in Lebanon, and her family still hasn't fully accepted the loss. Karen focuses on running as a way to heal, and her place on the Arab-Israeli track team is something she holds dear. Yasmine's family disapproves of her love for track, and when the coach won't allow her to run in a long skirt, Yasmine's father forces her to drop out. But soon Yasmine and Karen begin meeting secretly to run together in "no man's land," a strip of woods that separates their communities. Karen is preparing for an important meet, and as Yasmine helps her train, she begins to view the sport as more than just an opportunity to win races. When their friendship is exposed, however, the consequences threaten to pull their communities even farther apart. Running on Eggs offers a frank portrayal of modern-day Israel and recounts the story of two girls whose loyalty to each other helps them overcome the obstacles in their path.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in contemporary Israel, this thought-provoking first novel defines the problems a Jewish girl encounters when she befriends an Arab schoolmate. Although she has been raised to view Arabs as the enemy, 13-year-old Karen is drawn to her track teammate Yasmine, who shares her love of running. Both dream of winning an upcoming meet to qualify for a competition in Spain. But when Yasmine's father will not allow her to wear the "immodest" uniform of shorts, Yasmine must leave the team. However, she offers to help Karen train for the race. Knowing their friends and family would disapprove, the two meet secretly in "no man's land," an overgrown lot dividing Karen's kibbutz from Yasmine's village. Tension mounts when Yasmine's older brother spies the girls together, and Karen, sensing impending danger, is forced to choose where her loyalties lie. This realistic story offers a peaceful resolution of its potentially volatile conflicts; a timely and sympathetic treatment. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
As they practice running, Yasmine exhorts Karen to pretend she is "running on eggs." In Israel, where every lunch box could be a bomb, everyone seems to be running, or at least walking, on eggsespecially in the no man's land between Karen's kibbutz and Yasmine's Arab village. But talented Yasmine is willing to coach Karen for a race whose winners will go to an international track competition in SpainYasmine herself cannot be on the track team because her father feels it is immodest and unfeminine. As the girls run secretly, Karen remembers her father, killed in the war in Lebanon, and his dream to establish friendly relations between the Jewish and Arab communities. When her kibbutz neighbors and family learn of her practices with Yasmine, Karen wonders if she can be as strong as her father. Levine's first novel is mostly successful. She has created a fascinating portrait of an exotic and troubled land where school buses must be routinely searched for bombs and gunfire is as common as birdsong. The characters are less memorable than the setting, and the ending, in which Arabs and Jews decide to build a communal track, seems contrived. Although flawed, this book will help fill the need for realistic fiction about other cultures. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Front Street/Cricket Books, Ages 12 to 15, 136p, $15.95. Reviewer: Jamie S. Hansen
Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A sympathetic story of an Israeli-Arab friendship. In an atmosphere of suspicion and fear, young Arabs and Jews have lived apart, forced to share space on the school bus but having no further contact. Between the kibbutz and the Arab village lies an uncultivated tract where Karen's deceased father once ran and where Karen now hopes to train for the Galilee Run in hopes of qualifying for a 10K race in Spain. A tentative friendship between Yasmine and Karen, brought about by the track coach's insistence on having Arab runners as well as Jews on his track team, is threatened when he refuses to allow the Arab girls to run in skirts, and Yasmine's older brother angrily bars her from the team. But the girls continue to meet, and run, in no-man's-land until Yasmine's brother and friends find them there and chase Karen. In her haste to escape, she falls and hits her head, but tells her mother that she was caught in the cross fire of a game. In the meantime, the adult world is moving toward conciliation. Coach Enrico has led the two communities to agree to develop the wild area as a running track, to be opened with the Galilee Run. Spurred on by the pacing of Yasmine, who cannot run officially but joins her mid-race, Karen comes in third, winning a place on the traveling team. While the message sometimes threatens to overwhelm the story, the author sustains the mood and the suspense well enough to bring the book to a satisfying conclusion. Readers can enjoy this as a simple sports story as well as a picture of life in a world immersed in hostilities.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812628753
Publisher:
Cricket Books
Publication date:
11/01/1999
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.87(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.66(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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