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*Aram's Choice (New Beginnings)* by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, illustrated by Muriel Wood

Also by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch:

When Mama Goes to Work

Call Me Aram (New Beginnings)

Daughter of War

Kobzar's Children: A Century of Untold Stories by Ukrainians
Aram's Choice (New Beginnings)
by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, illustrated by Muriel Wood
Grades 2-5 81 pages Fitzhenry & Whiteside June 2006 Paperback    

Aramís Choice is the third book in Fitzhenry & Whiteside's "New Beginnings" series, a collection of historical events as seen through the eyes of a young immigrant. Aramís Choice is the story of Canadaís first international humanitarian effort. In 1922, during the genocide war in what is now Turkey, Canadian immigration allowed only about 1,300 Armenian refugees to enter the country. However, caring and industrious individuals made it possible for 110 homeless boys between the ages of 8 and 12 to be brought in from Greek orphanages and taken to Georgetown, Ontario. There the boys were raised on a farm, educated, and trained so that they would be able to find work upon release from the school.

Twelve-year-old Aram (the lead character) witnessed the deaths of many, including his parents. Only the very young and very old were shown some amount of mercy by the army, simply because they were not seen as a threat. However, people feared for the orphanage boys who took refuge in Greece because, as they aged into young men, the army would try to eliminate them.

Aramís only living relative is his homeless, starving Grandmother and he loathes leaving her behind, but he has been chosen, and he must look after his younger friends during the long train rides and ship travel.

Aramís Choice is emotionally-charged, a true historical account of the life experiences of Kevork Kevorkian, one of the first Armenian Georgetown Boys. I shed tears over the final farewell gift the boys received from a saddened guardian at the orphanage in the village of Corfu. I cried again during the goodbye scene between Aram and his grandmother. Readers will experience the joy and discovery of many new foods through Aram and his friends, who are used to watery, tasteless stews and endless meals of mashed lima beans.

Aramís Choice is a perfect choice for lessons in history and humanitarianism. Readers between ages 8 and 11 (Grade 2-5) will feel a deep connection to the events, because the story is told first person through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy.

Illustrator Muriel Wood has been creating art for childrenís books since 1964. Her talented work was also featured in the first two books of the "New Beginnings" series. Her colorful illustrations appear on nearly every single page of Aramís Choice, adding a great deal of impact to the scenes in the storyline.

Award-winning author Marsha Skyrpuch has worked many years as both an English scholar and librarian. She has also written numerous childrenís books over the years. Her detailed research into this book began with an interview with Kevork Kevorkian, from whom she first learned of the Armenian genocide.

Skrypuchís dedication resulted in this fantastic tale of a little-known historical event. Aramís Choice includes maps, an extensive index, biographies for the author and illustrator and a section for those who wish to learn more of the Georgetown Boys and the Armenian Genocide. As a closing, Skrypuch provides a detailed explanation of the events surrounding this historical period.
Beginning readers book reviews for developing, emerging and fluent readers

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  Lillian Brummet/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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