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A Thunderous Whisper by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Knopf, October 2012, for ages 10 and up)
Source: hardcover won from Medeia Sharif's blog (and if you haven't checked out her blog, you should! She's the author of Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. and she reads more than anyone I know.)
Synopsis (from Indiebound): Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he's been off fighting in Spain's Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he's as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias's father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She's actually making a difference in the world.
And then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, her mother. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way.
Why I liked it: This is historical fiction as it was meant to be. Gripping. Moving. Beautifully written. The Spanish Civil War and the plight of the Basques come alive through Ani. Before reading this, I knew absolutely nothing about Guernica, other than the fact that Pablo Picasso created a famous painting about it. And if you're looking for multi-cultural books, you can't go wrong with this one. (Parental note: This might be a bit scary for younger readers, with the descriptions of dead bodies after the bombing.)
|Christina Diaz Gonzalez (from her website)|
Christina is the author of The Red Umbrella, which I reviewed for my very first MMGM (you can see that in this post from November 29, 2010 -- sheesh, have I really been doing this for more than two years?!). And now, I'm updating this post to add a mini-interview with Christina Diaz Gonzalez.
1) Tell us a little about your research. It must have been daunting! Did it take you months or years? What was it like to travel to Guernica and see these sites with your own eyes?
The preliminary research took a few months and then I added more detail and fine-tuning once I went to Guernica myself. The trip there was amazing (although way too short) and the people were fantastic. They were so incredibly friendly and helpful... really gave me a sense of understanding what it was like during that time period.
2) Do you outline your novels before beginning to write?
I never outline my novels before writing but I do know how the book will end. It keeps me going in a certain direction.
3) As a pantser, I'm happy to hear that. I love the character of Ani and how much she grows and changes. I also loved Mathias. Is there any of you in Ani? And is Mathias like anyone you know?
There is always a little of me in my characters.
4) Can you tell us what we can expect from you next? Will it be another historical novel?
I'm working on a contemporary/ quest-like story. It has a touch of historical to it, also. More than that, I can't talk about!
That's understandable, Christine. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Readers, be sure to come back on Friday December 14, when I'll be listing all the books I've read this year. That will be my last post before January, as I'll be taking a blogging break to work on the rough of my third MG novel.
What historical fiction have you read recently or look forward to reading?