Author – Deborah Ellis
Age – 9+
A stray black cat slinks through the night on the edge of the town of Bethlehem. She’s hungry and she doesn’t like being a cat at all. She used to be a 13 year old girl called Clare living in another town called Bethlehem far away.
When Clare is chased through the night by a territorial tomcat, she escapes inside a house as two Israeli soldiers force their way in. They plan to use the house as a vantage point to watch the neighbourhood for any enemy movement.
Clare doesn’t care what they are there for, as long as they feed her. She is wily, sneaky and clever, just like she was when she was a girl. As she watches what goes on around her, including discovering a small boy hiding in the little house, she relives what she was like as a girl – in particular her year with her English Literature and History teacher, Ms Sealand. Or Ms Zero as she liked to call her.
But her conflict throughout the year with Ms Sealand helps her in the conflict she now faces with the soldiers. Can she change her ways?
This book includes a Q & A section with the author at the back of the book about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It was an easy but thought provoking read, learning about Clare in two lives.
(Growing up, Life after Death, Animals, Cat, Israel’s West Bank, Conflict, Desiderata poem)