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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by David Grossman
Age Range: 9-11
In the margin of the letter there were three words written in red ink – ‘Honour of Death’. So began an unusual story of the friendship between twelve-year-old David and the elderly Mr Rosenthal. When David reads the letter from the bully of Heidelburg University, accusing Mr Rosenthal of being ‘a miserable old thief’, he is full of trepidation for his friend. Somehow David must solve the mystery of the ‘stolen mouth’ and save two men from a duel to the death. A childhood memory narrated by David as he recalls events that took place 16 years before, it is a novel of love, honour and betrayal. It explores the friendship between a boy and an old man dealing with values from a past time – because honour is something David’s elderly friend considers worth dying for.
This is a quirky, compassionate story by David Grossman, one of Israel’s best known novelists. Betsy Rosenberg won the Marsh Award for Children’s Books in Translation in 2001 for the translation.
( Outside In: Children's Books in Translation, Milet (2005)