Ten-year-old Babo has grown up on an abandoned circus camp in a war-torn country. She sleeps in the old lion cage and takes care of the other parentless “leftover kids,” telling them fantastical stories about the old circus days and finding ways to make them laugh. They need her. So Babo is not one single bit happy when an American couple wants to adopt her and change her name to Betti. How will her real parents ever find her all the way in America?
But soon crazy America is exactly where she is—with new parents and a little sister, weird food like snaky spooogetti, and all kinds of people speaking gobbledygook. Betti is determined to run away. She just has to find the perfect time . . .
Heartbreaking and hilarious, Betti on the High Wire is a book about family, the meaning of home—and most of all, about one brave and imaginative (and completely unforgettable) little girl.
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Lisa Railsback is an award-winning playwright and a bright new talent in the children’s book world. She worked in a refugee camp abroad, and then went on to work with refugees in the U.S. Betti on the High Wire is a book she wanted to write about the brave kids she met along the way. Lisa lives in Austin, Texas.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4–6—Babo is the adolescent daughter of circus performers who were killed during a burst of political unrest and violence in an unnamed country. She believes that foreigners simply want to take kids away from their friends and country, making it impossible for them to ever locate their birth parents, and stripping them of their identities. Therefore, she is incredulous and angry when she gets word that an American couple wants to adopt her. Her resistance breaks down a bit when she discovers that a younger orphan is going to the same town that she is. She decides that she will stay until George is settled, and will enlighten the Americans about her country's plight. She worries daily that her parents may come looking for her, clinging to her unrealistic fantasy that they are still alive. Her new family is loving and patient, but Babo, now called Betti, must contend with insults from children who judge her stories to be melodramatic lies. Gradually, she begins to feel comfortable in this country and she grows to trust and love her new family. Railsback captures many aspects of culture dissonance well, and the challenge of bridging two cultures. However, some readers may find the mix of conventional and rudimentary English hard to follow. The plot is convincing and may well resonate with children who have had to adjust to a new situation, but will not likely appeal to a wide audience. Still, the book will be useful in collections that serve adoptees from foreign countries, and also for those patrons who are curious about the experiences of children in countries that are disrupted by war and unrest.—Deborah Vose, East Middle School and South Middle School, Braintree, MA
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Book Description Listening Library (Audio), 2010. Audio CD. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110307738264