by Deborah Ellis


View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 6 days


The seated child. With a single powerful image, Deborah Ellis draws our attention to nine children and the situations they find themselves in, often through no fault of their own. In each story, a child makes a decision and takes action, be that a tiny gesture or a life-altering choice.

Jafar is a child laborer in a chair factory and longs to go to school. Sue sits on a swing as she and her brother wait to have a supervised visit with their father at the children’s aid society. Gretchen considers the lives of concentration camp victims during a school tour of Auschwitz. Mike survives seventy-two days of solitary as a young offender. Barry squirms on a food court chair as his parents tell him that they are separating. Macie sits on a too-small time-out chair while her mother receives visitors for tea. Noosala crouches in a fetid, crowded apartment in Uzbekistan, waiting for an unscrupulous refugee smuggler to decide her fate.

These children find the courage to face their situations in ways large and small, in this eloquent collection from a master storyteller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781773061108
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Publication date: 10/03/2018
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 879,282
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

Deborah Ellis is the author of more than two dozen books, including The Breadwinner , which has been published in twenty-five languages. She has won the Governor General’s Award, the Middle East Book Award, the Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She has received the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement, and she has been named to the Order of Canada. She has donated more than $1 million in royalties to organizations such as Women for Women in Afghanistan, UNICEF and Street Kids International.

Read an Excerpt

“We would make perfect murderers,” said Sanu, who was one year older than Jafar...

“What are you talking about?” Jafar asked.

Sanu held up his hands and wiggled his fingers.

“No fingerprints!” he said, laughing.

They could laugh now, but when Jafar first started sanding, his fingers got so sore and bloody!

“Get one more drop of blood on one of my chairs, you little cockroach, and I’ll send you back to your family in a garbage sack!” Boss had yelled at him.


Oak Street was not the busiest street in town, but lots of people still walked down it, and they all looked at Bea, sitting by herself on a bench in the middle of a school day.

Bea didn’t worry about the old ladies. She had sat on this bench before on her days off and the old ladies left her alone...

The dangerous ones were the yoga ladies...

The yoga ladies were busybodies.


Mike hears the outer door of the Administrative Segregation pod shut and lock. He is all alone...

His eyes are wiped and his face is dry by the time he hears the Ag Seg door unlock again and the peep-hole covering in his own door slide open.

“You all right in there, 75293?”

Mike knows the voice of CO Jenson.

It is the voice of the devil.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Beautifully wrought, the collection will appeal to thoughtful readers who appreciate Ellis' other globally-aware works … An excellent choice for all collections." — Booklist , starred review

"Ellis nimbly slips into the minds of her memorable characters … and her thought-provoking collection should spark wide-ranging discussions about choice and injustice." — Publishers Weekly

"Every story is poignant and provocative. Ellis writes with deep compassion and intuitiveness." — School Library Journal

"… the collection’s focus on the action—or, more appropriately, the inaction—of sitting places readers right next to each protagonist as they transition from physically and metaphorically staying still to moving on." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Sit 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
AmberK1120 More than 1 year ago
Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own. I have struggled the last few days as I’ve tried to come up with my review for this book. It was not a bad collection of stories. Quite the contrary actually; they were full of emotion and really grabbed my attention. But they were dark. And the majority of the adults within the stories struck me as being angry. Really angry. When I initially picked up this collection, I was under the impression it was for young readers. After finishing it and experiencing the range of topics between the covers, I’d recommend it for slightly older readers; perhaps middle grade to adult. There are some tough topics within these stories, mostly alluded to as opposed to explicitly stated, but there nonetheless. All of that being said, each story felt like it ended with a sense of hope. I appreciated that aspect, as it felt like a good balance to the negative feeling the adults of each story left me with. Ultimately, I would say this is a good choice for someone seeking a poignant reading experience, a set of stories that will really elicit an emotional response.