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The Shepherd’s Granddaughter

Author: Anne Laurel Carter
Publication date: 2008
Genre:

About the Work

The Shepherd's Granddaughter

This is a moving novel about one of the most hotly disputed pieces of land on earth. Anne Carter tells the story of one girl and her family whose homes, way of life and livelihood — even their ancient olive trees — are threatened. She carefully avoids gratuitous sentimentalizing or politicizing by staying firmly behind the eyes of her young protagonist. Even as the political conflict and hostilities loom, Amani’s life remains grounded in the incidents of everyday life — the birth of a lamb, family arguments at mealtime, the illness of a faraway relative, the difficulties of travel, the celebration of the olive harvest.


Challenges in Canada

2010 — In Ontario, B’nai Brith Canada — a Jewish advocacy group — called for the removal of this young-adult novel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a recommended reading program for students in Grades 7 and 8 in public schools. Brian Henry — a parent with a child in a Toronto public school — also complained about the novel in a letter to Ontario’s minister of education.

Objection — The complainants described the novel as anti-Israeli propaganda.

Update — The complaints provoked a public controversy. Sheila Ward, a trustee on the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), said that she would “move heaven and earth to have The Shepherd’s Granddaughter taken off the school library shelves.” Carter and the novel’s publisher — Patsy Aldana of Groundwood Books — denied the charge of anti-Israeli bias. Erna Paris — chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada — and Aldana urged the TDSB to defend students’ freedom to read. Others defended the novel’s educational and literary value. In June 2010, a review committee of the TDSB said that teachers should use the novel to encourage students to read and think critically. In August 2010, Chris Spence — the TDSB’s director of education — decided to keep the novel in the schools’ recommended reading program.


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This is a moving novel about one of the most hotly disputed pieces of land on earth. Anne Carter tells the story of one girl and her family whose homes, way of life and livelihood — even their ancient olive trees — are threatened.

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