Sit by Deborah Ellis (review)
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Reviewed by
Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Ellis, Deborah Sit. Groundwood, 2017 [144p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-77306-086-6 $14.95
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-77306-087-3 $12.95
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-7

Take a seat. That’s an easy order, sure, but for the kids in Ellis’ eleven short stories, sitting on a chair (or a bench, a fence, or in one case, a toilet) is not a simple thing. For the seven-year-old girl banished to the pink plastic chair in the corner, it’s a [End Page 113] place of punishment but also an opportunity to plot her escape from her mother’s controlling ways. A plain wood fence in the early hours of the morning comforts a young boy before he and the members of his community go to tear down the school in which his sister was killed in a mass shooting. Noosala sits back to back in a cramped apartment with eighteen other Afghani refugees in Uzbekistan. While some stories tilt toward the preachy, the thematic framework is strong, and 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. Individual pieces could easily serve as classroom readalouds and writing or discussion prompts for students to consider the spaces in their own lives and how they interact with them.

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