Jamie's mother is there to catch the baby -this time. She does what she must to keep her family out of harm's way, but still the shock waves of Van's act reverberate through their lives. What Jamie Saw is a moving, visceral dramatization of violence in the home, told not from the point of view of a victim, but as witnessed by a nine-year-old boy. The impact of observed violence perpetrated against loved ones is profound and destructive, and altogether too common. Drawing on his mother's desperate strength, his own determination, and help from an unexpected friend, Jamie confronts his fear and anxiety - learning, adapting, and triumphing.
Emphasis on Reading (Children's Choice) Award -State of Alabama
Newbery Medal Honor Book
National Book Award Finalist
ALA Notable Children's Books
Editors' Choice -Booklist
Blue Ribbon Book -BCCB
"A Few Good Books" -Book Links
Children's Books of Distinction -Hungry Mind Review
Children's Books -100 titles for Reading and Sharing -New York Public Library
"Coman admirably overcomes the technical difficulties she has set for herself in beginning her novel with such an intense scene, and her conclusion, with Van deflated by the unified front Jamie and his mother present, satisfies and feels truthful. Jamie, with his acute observations and ability to completely immerse himself in the moment, is a memorable character children will recognize as being just like them."
"In effect, Coman speaks for her hero with the intuitive understanding and empathy of a mother. The subjective impressions that she records are unmistakably those of a young boy, and Jamie's subjectivity becomes increasingly convincing; the cumulative effect is mesmerizing. Reading this short novella, readers will find themselves quickly slipping into a mode of thought analogous to the protagonist's. It's a profound characterization and a remarkable achievement in a book about ordinary people trying to put their lives in order."
"Coman puts us at the heart of a crisis. The setting, sparely and precisely evoked, is a gray Vermont December, and Coman is nervy enough to place the climax on Christmas Eve[.]"
-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Grounded in Jamie's perspective, Carolyn Coman writes a novel about the tension of living in fear, and the courage of breaking free."
-CCBC Choices (University of Wisconsin)
"The powerful story probes with painful insistence at the insidious nature of fear and its consequences."
-Horn Book Guide
"From the gripping opening until the very last page, readers share the real fear, anger, and anguish that haunt Jamie and his mother. Their ability to face their fears and thus begin to reconstruct their lives brings this short, but powerful story to closure."
About the Author
Carolyn Coman is the author of What Jamie Saw, winner of a Newbery Honor, among other highly acclaimed novels. She lives in New Hampshire.