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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)
Playing With Fire
by Henning Mankell
Age Range: 14+
Playing with Fire continues the story of Sofia and her family from the first book, Secrets in the Fire. When Sofia’s beautiful sister Rosa succumbs to a mysterious illness, she is eventually diagnosed with AIDS. There are no drugs available, no hospital treatment and no counselling to help Rosa. Sofia and her mother, Lydia, struggle to support the family and, in their different ways, to help Rosa come to terms with her illness and its inevitable consequences. For Sofia, her sister’s terrible illness is yet another blow, but throughout it all her courage remains steadfast.
This is based on a true story of a young girl living in war-torn Mozambique. Pitted against incredible adversity Sofia’s courage manages to shine through as she comes to terms with her sister’s terrible.
Henning Mankell is best known for his detective novels, but these important books (Secrets in the Fire and The Fury in the Fire) are delivered in spare, unsentimental language that provide teenage readers with an understanding of the issues of landmines and the AIDS epidemic.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)