128p. Groundwood. Oct. 2017. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781773060866.
Gr 4–6—A collection of short stories comprised of 11 tales set in different countries. In each story, a child encounters some form of social injustice and overcomes it or finds a positive outcome through some action on their part, however small. Each chapter features and is named for a specific type of chair. In "The Singing Chair," Jafar, a child laborer in a chair factory, longs to go to school. He scratches a poem on the bottom of a chair being shipped out and feels emancipated ("With this chair, I am here."). In "The Questioning Chair," Gretchen visits the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum with her class. She sits on a hole in the middle of a long toilet and imagines what it must have been like for the prisoners of the concentration camp. She considers what her parents or grandparents might have done during the Holocaust. In "The Freedom Chair," Mike sits on the floor of his cell where he is serving time for a crime; he's in solitary confinement for 72 days. He relies on his own inner strength and the kindness of a stranger. Jed sits on a fence outside the Amish school where his sister was killed, Barry sits in a food court as his parents tell him they are separating, and Noosla sits in a crowded, stinking apartment in Uzbekistan, waiting for an unscrupulous smuggler to decide her fate. Every story is poignant and provocative. Ellis writes with deep compassion and intuitiveness. This book is ripe with discussable, debatable issues and thought-provoking questions.
VERDICT An excellent addition for classrooms and libraries.

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