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Samir and Yonatan on Planet Mars

Samir, an Arab child during the Intifada, is taken to an Israeli hospital for a special operation. He arrives in the children`s ward grieving for his dead brother and traumatized by the disintegration of his family life. Too shy to speak, he watches the four children in his ward: Razia, who is emotionally disturbed, is being stitched up after her father`s last drunken binge; Ludmilla, a Russian girl, is catatonically withdrawn; Yonatan is fascinated by the planets; and Tzakhi, sensing Samir`s fear, frightens him with stories about his brother in the army. It is Yonatan who calms Samir, offers him friendship and tells him about the other world of the stars and planets. The book ends with an unexpected bond between Samir and Tzakhi who go on a spree through the hospital during their recovery. When Samir returns home, he knows he has seen the impossible happen: he has made friends with the enemy.

Samir and Yonatan was awarded an Honorable Mention from UNESCO for Children and Young People’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance (1997), the Berlin Prize for Best Children’s Book in Translation (1997), the Silver Quill Award (Germany, 1997), the Batchelder Award for Best Translated Book by the American Library Association (2001) and the Italian WIZO Prize (2003).

Arabic, Azeri, Chinese (complex), Chinese (simplified), Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish
Title Samir and Yonatan on Planet Mars
Genre Children
Ages 10-14
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad
No. Pages 124pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Samir Ve-Yonatan Al Kochav Maʹadim