Sarah's Stars

Ana Maria Machado. From Another World
Groundwood  $9.95  ISBN 0-88899-641-1  136 pg.
Reviewed by Emma, Age 13

It was so dark, I couldnít see a thing. But I could hear. There was a noise. It wasnít very clear, but I recognized the sound of moaning and sobbing. Someone was crying. And it was such sad sobbing, it broke my heart, even though it was muffled... . I lifted my head, sat up and listened carefully for some time. Yes, there was definitely someone crying.

From Another World is about four Brazilian children and the adventures they have with their newfound friend Rosario. Rosario is a girl unlike anyone they have ever met. For one thing, she dresses funny, talks funny and acts scared around them. For another, sheís transparent; she has no shadow. Rosario is a ghost! But thatís just her on the outside. On the inside, she is brave, strong and a loyal friend, and she has a story to tell. Her story is a story of slavery, bravery, generosity and unimaginable cruelty. And she wants them to help her figure it out. What have these four friends gotten themselves into?

Written by Ana Maria Machado, translated by Luisa Baeta, and illustrated by Lucia Brandao, From Another World is the winner of a Hans Christian Anderson Award. The whole story is written from the perspective of Mariano, one of the main characters, delegated by Rosario to record their adventure and preserve it forever. Elisa, one of the other main characters, does the illustrations for his book. From Another World is a realistic fiction / fantasy novel in paperback, with some historical elements as well. I recommend this book for grades four to eight, and I think it would be a good book for a teacher to read to their class.

From Another World would make a very good summer read. It is both heavy and light at the same time. Heavy because of the theme, slavery, but made light by the way the story is told. This book is good for a wide variety of audiences. It is simple for children and fun for adults. Colourful, yet serious at the same time. That is why I gave this book three-and-a-half stars. It may not be my first choice, but it was a good read and Iím sure youíll like it!

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