Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Thunderous Whisper Blog Tour - Book Review


Thank you Alethea from Read Now Sleep Later for hosting A Thunderous Whisper Blog Tour.  Blog Tour Main Schedule.

Author:  Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Publisher: Random House (October 9, 2012)
Source: Copy for Review
Audience:  Ages 10 and up
Historical Fiction * Guernica/Spain * Spanish Civil War

Description from GoodReads:
Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he's been off fighting in Spain's Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he's as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias's father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She's actually making a difference in the world.

And then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, her mother. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way.


My thoughts on this book:
In 2010, Christina Diaz Gonzalez released her first novel The Red Umbrella.  I had the chance to interact with her via twitter and facebook prior to the release of her debut novel and then to actually meet her at a couple of author events during the summer of 2010.  Not only did I really love The Red Umbrella and the story and characters that she created, but I found Christina to be a charming and wonderful person.  As a result, I have been eager to read her newest book A Thunderous Whisper which takes place in Guernica during the Spanish Civil War in the mid to late 1930's. 

What I am discovering about Diaz Gonzalez is that like her main character Ani, she is a storyteller.  She is able to find a way to give a voice to the children and families who in the middle of political unrest or war had no voice.  For many of us, we have heard of the stories of Nazi Germany, of the Holocaust, and Concentration Camps.  However, little did I know of the Basque families in Spain who were at the same time fighting their own war to maintain their culture and identity.  In her two characters 12 year old Ani and 14 year old Mathias, she weaves together pieces of both stories.  Ani has grown up in Guernica and Mathias who is half Basque and half German Jew finds himself in Guernica.  In the matter of a few weeks, these two new friends are forced to grow up as they find their way in a rapidly changing world. Through the start of her friendship with Mathias to the devastation that comes at the hands of Nazi bombers, Ani begins to transform from the shy, quiet, invisible girl to one who discovers the role she is to play and the voice she needs to have. 

I loved so many of the characters that Diaz Gonzalez created, and amazed once again, that she is able to create fictional characters that the readers can connect with and befriend.  Her ability to paint a picture of what life was like during this time period and the challenges and struggle moved me emotionally.  Yes, I pulled out tissues at one part.   Diaz Gonzalez is also able to write a story that can appeal to a wide age range.  From fifth grade to middle school to high school to adults, there will be readers who will connect with the themes and messages in A Thunderous Whisper.

If you are looking for historical fiction that is readable, draws you in, and teaches you about things you might not have known about, then you want to pick up a copy of A Thunderous Whisper.  Purchase a copy at your local bookstore or look for it at a local library.  



Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the author of the award-winning and best-selling children’s novel, THE RED UMBRELLA. Ms. Gonzalez’s debut novel (the story of a 14 year old Cuban girl who is sent to the U.S. in 1961 as part of Operation Pedro Pan) showcases the generosity of the American spirit and highlights the pain of losing one’s homeland. Reviewers from publications such as The Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and School Library Journal have praised the book as being exceptional, compelling and inspirational. Her second novel, A THUNDEROUS WHISPER, is to be released in Fall 2012.

For more information about Christina Diaz Gonzalez: website | facebook | twitter

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