by Deborah Ellis, Eric Walters


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On the White Ravens' Outstanding New International Books for Children and Young Adults list, 2008

ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards Bronze Medal Winner (YA Fiction category), 2007

Snow Willow Award nominee, 2008

CCBC's Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2008

Two bestselling authors join forces to write a powerful novel about racism.

A student arrested on suspicions of terrorism. A high school torn apart by racism. Two boys from two different sets of circumstances forced to choose sides.

These are the issues at the heart of Bifocal, a ground-breaking new novel for young-adults.

The story is told from two different points of view. Haroon is a serious student devoted to his family. His grandparents emigrated from Afghanistan. Jay is a football star devoted to his team. He is white.

One day their high school is put on lockdown, and the police arrest a Muslim student on suspicion of terrorist affiliations. He might be guilty. Or is he singled out because of his race?

The entire student body fragments along racial lines and both Haroon and Jay find that their differences initially put them at odds. The Muslim students become targets and a smoke-bomb is set off near their lockers while Jay and his teammates believe they've been set-up to look like racists.

Bifocal is, by no stretch, an easy book. Award-winning authors Deborah Ellis and Eric Walters deliver a serious, hard-hitting book about racism that does not talk down to young people.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554550623
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date: 08/16/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 1,043,020
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 15 - 17 Years

About the Author

Deborah Ellis is the acclaimed author of The Heaven Shop and the Breadwinner trilogy. She has won the Governor General's Award, Canada's highest literary honor, and is a member of the Order of Ontario. She travels the world to hear the stories of children marginalized by war, illness, and poverty.

Eric Walters is one of Canada's most successful writers and prolific writers for teenagers. His novel Shattered recently won the 2007 National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Award and the 2007 White Pine Award. A former teacher, Eric visits classrooms across the country and he has already spoken to more than 750,000 students.

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Bifocal 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
8H.corianndera on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm extremely disappointed by this book. Since Mr. Gould and Saloni both said that this was an awsome book, I had high standards for it. I have to say that understand ing this book was extremely hard. I don't really now the problem of the stroy. Okay, so theres the like a chain of sequence, I know the problem was vandilism and terrorists, but THERE IS NO SOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sorry but I don't like this book. The parts were well discribed so I wont make this a 2. There is also something that I have to point out. When they said there is two sides of a story, it really shocked me. I thought oun person would be a victim while another will be the bully. But It is a bout a person opn a television contest with another person being in the football team. the only time when there was really a true "two sides of the syory" was when Jay started sabotaging Haroon's house . that was like at the last chapter. so yeah this is why I didn't like the book. But im suprised that this is actually written by two canadian authours that are so famous.
tinatonateeni97 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"There are 2 sides to every story. You just have to listen." ¿Bifocal¿ is a compelling story about racism written by two award-winning authors- Eric Walters and Deborah Ellis. This book was very sad but intense at the same time. Written from 2 different views, (one of the white football player, and one of the Muslim boy.) this book tells a story about racism, mostly against Muslims, in a high school. A Muslim teen from that school was arrested for allegedly taking part in a bomb plot to blow up areas of the city. Then, the racial discrimination begins. Other students make fun about how the Muslims dress, and soon, vandalism with insults about the brown people begin. The white people, boys on the football team especially, give them all a hard time. Haroon, the Muslim boy, is caught up amidst the terror. The boy who was arrested was his classmate, his family starts changing with more and more arguments about their religion, and he was one of the vandalism victims. On the other side, Jay, the boy on the football team, is pressured into the hate and does everything the football team does, as he is new and doesn¿t want to be the loner. This story was unlike other fiction stories, as it does not have a real, overly happy ending. In a way, I liked it that way because I know that racism still exists and is still a global injustice problem. By not ending it with something along the lines of ¿No one judged each other by their religion anymore,¿ it would be unrealistic, as we all know that there is still a great amount of racial injustice in the world. Not only is this a fascinating, exciting, and sad story, this book taught me a lot about the Muslim religion and how serious racism can get. I recommend this book to everybody that can comprehend this level of literacy because this book has a lot of information and shocking incidents that everyone¿s should know about. For example, the football team kids threw flower plots, eggs, and toilet paper at a Muslim¿s house. To top it all off, they spray-painted racial slurs on the walls. This book will leave you breathing in anger and with an urge to help stop racism.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Mulsim boy is arrested at his high school on suspicion of terrorist affiliations. Growing racial tensions divide the school population and misunderstandings occur everywhere. Story is told alternatively by Jay, a football player, and Haroon, a Muslim friend of the accused. There is a section where some people could take offense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bifocal, one of the most unique, realistic fictional stories I¿ve read in a while, was written by Eric Walters and Deborah Ellis. I thought the plot was different, but in a good way. It was easy to read, yet hard to put down.
Most of the events that occur in the story happen at a middle school in a small town, in America. The main character Haroon is accused of being involved in a terrorist group. When the cops realized they can¿t take him in without evidence, they take his friend, who apparently they did have evidence against, instead of Haroon. When Haroon is returned to school he has to face discrimination from his fellow peers, because of the color of his skin. Haroon learns that no one would treat him normally, so he came up with two options: he¿d ignore it all, and wait until everything died down or follow his twin sister¿s footsteps and stand up for his citizenship. He soon meets Jay, an audacious, rising star in their school¿s football team. Jay knows he needs to help Haroon but can he get over the racial dividers in their school? The story switches off between Haroon¿s points of views to Jay¿s. It was not exactly easy or hard to read regarding the vocabulary. The author also includes references to Afghan heritage.
I recommend this book to anyone who is confused about racism or doesn¿t understand the reality of discrimination against different colors of skin. This book might even be swell to relate to.