From the New Beginnings series, comes Call Me Aram, the sequel to Aram’s Choice. Aram Davidian, like his fellow orphaned Armenian refugees, is delighted with his new home on a farm in Georgetown, Ontario. But despite the excitement his new surroundings, Aram worries about his young friend Mgerdich, who was injured on the long trip to Canada and is recovering in France. And what is more worrying is that he and the other boys have been assigned new English names. How will their extended families find them one day if all the boys have new identities? Even when their translator assures them that their hosts want only the best for the boys, Aram cannot accept the name David Adams. When Mgerdich finally arrives at the farm, a relieved Aram finds the courage to lead the boys in a gentle revolt. Together, they must find a way to convince the Canadian adults that the boys, as grateful as they are for their new lives, cannot forget their old ones. Theymust keep their names.
Every incident in Call Me Aram is based on real events from the lives of the Georgetown Boys — from the boys’ reaction to porridge and cameras and weekly showers to their revolt to get their own names back. Marsha spent hundreds of hours listening to taped interviews of the original Georgetown Boys in order to glean these snippets of truth.
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the author of many books for children, including Silver Threads and Enough as well as her YA novels, Daughter of War, The Hunger and Nobody’s Child. Aram’s Choice was nominated for the CLA Children’s Book of the year, the Silver Birch Express Award, and the Golden Oak Award. It was also made into a play and performed to sold-out performances each night in Georgetown, Ontario.
Muriel Wood has been illustrating books for children since 1964, including the Canadian classic, The Olden Days Coat written by Margaret Laurence. Other books that she has illustrated include Old Bird, and the first two titles from the New Beginnings series, Lizzie’s Storm and Scared Sarah.
“Call Me Aram is a good choice for spearheading discussions about the trials of new Canadians. The book provides a realistic portrayal of the homesickness, difficulties with language and other problems faced by displaced immigrants. The theme of maintaining a cultural identity, even when harboured by well-meaning sponsors, is explored. As in Aram’s Choice, Muriel Wood’s luminous illustrations help to clarify the text.
— CM Magazine
“Skrypuch’s tale is an affecting one, made even more so by artist Woods’s limpid paintings of the bucolic Canadian farmland.”
— The Globe and Mail
“The full-color paintings have an unsophisticated quality that suits the descriptions of children in a bucolic setting. While this book stands alone, it will have greater impact if read along with the earlier title (Aram’s Choice).”
— School Library Journal
“Based on historical fact, this story is powerful in teaching readers today of history, cross-cultural understanding, and charity. That which the boys find strange – ice boxes, wood stoves, porridge with cream – today’s reader might easily find equally unfamiliar. Skrypuch’s narrative voice, in explaining how Aram’s culture differs from Canada, also reveals how 1923 Canada differs from our world today. There are many learning opportunities in this text; the depth to which the issues can be explored can be tailored to the age and maturity of the reading audience. The addition of the glossary and historical notes lends validity to the text, rendering it not only a beautiful tale, but an inspiring part of our national history.
Rating: E – Excellent”
— Resource Links
“Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, an accomplished and prize-winning novelist, has written an inspired novel for young readers about the consequences of the Armenian genocide. . . She does meticulous research and pays close attention to accuracy of historical detail. . . Murial Wood’s illustrations add a powerful visual dimension to the story. . . Call Me Aram is a powerful novel based on firsthand accounts of actual historical events which will appeal to young readers and adults.”
— Curled up with a good kids book