Call Me Aram

Call Me Aram
Call Me Aram

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.
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Aram’s Choice

From the New Beginnings series, comes Aram’s Choice, a story that follows the life of a boy who loses his family in the Armenian genocide in Turkey and is exiled in Greece. The book follows Aram while he travels to Canada with forty-seven other Armenian boys in what was Canada’s first international humanitarian effort.

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch first heard about the Armenian Genocide seventeen years ago while doing research for a magazine article about the first “Georgetown Boys” — a group of 47 Armenian orphans who were rescued by Canada in 1923 and were housed and schooled at a farm in Georgetown, Ontario.

After interviewing the son of a “Georgetown Boy,” Marsha was left with more questions than answers. For example, why were all of the rescued orphans male? Why were they all between the ages of eight and twelve? What happened to their parents? What happened to their sisters?

After years of research, Marsha was able to write Aram’s Choice. Based on true events, this book gives children a chance to learn about effects of genocide through one that the Turkish government has long denied ever happened.

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the author of many books for children, including Silver Threads and Enough as well as her YA novels, The Hunger and Nobody’s Child, which was nominated for the Red Maple Award, the Alberta Rocky Mountain Book Award, and the B.C. Stellar Award.

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.
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One Step At A Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way

One Step At A Time
One Step At A Time

Tuyet has found a loving family at last. Life in a strange new country presents many challenges for the young refugee, but she is determined to overcome them all, including the surgeries that will one day allow her to walk on her own in shoes that match.

Tuyet cannot believe her good fortune. Brought up in a Vietnamese orphanage and rescued from the invading North Vietnamese army, she has been adopted by a kind and loving family in Canada. Tuyet feels safe at last as she adjusts to a new language and unfamiliar customs. But polio has left her with a weak leg, and her foot is turned inward, making walking painful and difficult. There is only one answer; she must have a series of operations. Her dread of doctors and hospitals brings back troubling memories of helicopters, a field hospital, and another operation in Vietnam. It won’t stop Tuyet, despite her fears and her overwhelming shyness. She has always dreamed of having two straight legs, of walking and running, of playing with other children, of owning a pair of shoes that actually match. Now that she has been given a chance, Tuyet is determined to do what it takes to finally stand on her own two feet.In this sequel to Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch continues Tuyet’s heart-wrenching true story of courage, family, and hope.
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Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Child’s Rescue From War

airliftcovernew1Last Airlift is the true story of the last Canadian airlift operation that left Saigon and arrived in Toronto on April 13, 1975. Son Thi Anh Tuyet was one of 57 babies and children on that flight. Based on personal interviews and enhanced with archive photos,Tuyet’s story of the Saigon orphanage and her flight to Canada is an emotional and suspenseful journey brought to life by the award-winning children’s author, Marsha Skrypuch.

Like the other children in the Saigon orphanage, Tuyet dreams of a family of her own. But she is one of the oldest, and polio has weakened her and left her with a limp. Nobody will adopt a girl like her. Instead, Tuyet cares for the babies and toddlers, hoping that if she continues to make herself useful, the nuns will let her stay.

One day in April, the babies and toddlers are packed into small boxes and frantically loaded into a van.The driver places Tuyet in the back of the van as well. As she and the younger children are taxied to the airport through streets filled with smoke, artillery fire and frenzied refugees trying to escape, Tuyet believes that her job is to look after the babies until they are airlifted to safety. But when the huge Hercules C-130 takes off from the burning city, Tuyet is not left behind after all. What will happen to her when she arrives in Canada? Will she be sent to an orphanage to look after new children, or will the people return her to Saigon to take her chances with the North’s invading forces?
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The Hunger

hungerFifteen-year-old Paula’s perfectionism drives every facet of her life, from her marks in Grade 10 to the pursuit of a “perfect body.” A history project brings her face to face with her grandmother’s early life and, as she delves deeper, she is disturbed to find eerie parallels between her own struggles and what she learns of the past.

As Paula slowly destroys the very body she’s trying to perfect, her spirit is torn between settling for her imperfect life or entering the shadowy mystery of her grandmother’s Armenian past. The shimmering Euphrates River beckons her, but, as she soon discovers, there are many things worse than imperfection.
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Nobody’s Child

nobodyOrphaned by the Adana massacre in 1909, Mariam and her siblings, together with their friend Kevork and his aunt, travel home to Marash hoping to find their remaining family still alive. Six years later, when the teens face deportation from Turkey, they are torn apart despite their best efforts to stay together. One thing sustains them throughout their horrifying ordeals — the hope that they might one day be reunited.

A sequel to the highly successful The Hunger, Nobody’s Child is a stirring and engaging story set during the Armenian Genocide, one of the twentieth century’s most significant events.
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Daughter of War

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Daughter of War

Daughter of War is a gripping story of enduring love and loyalty set against the horrors of Turkey during World War I.

Teenagers Kevork and his betrothed Marta are the lucky ones. They have managed so far to survive the Armenian genocide in Turkey, and both are disguised as Muslims. But Marta is still in Turkey, pregnant with another man’s child. And Kevork is living as an Arab in Syria.

Kevork yearns to get back into Turkey and search for Marta, but with the war raging and the genocide still in progress, the journey will be impossibly dangerous. Meanwhile, Marta worries that even if Kevork has survived and they are reunited, will he be able to accept what she has become? And what has happened to her sister, Mariam, who was sold as a slave to the highest bidder?
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Stolen Child

They call her the “Hitler Girl” . . .

Stolen from her family by the Nazis, Nadia is a young girl who tries to make sense of her confusing memories and haunting dreams. Bit by bit she starts to uncover the truth — that the German family she grew up with, the woman who calls herself Nadia’s mother, are not who they say they are. Beyond her privileged German childhood, Nadia unearths memories of a woman singing her a lullaby, while the taste of gingersnap cookies brings her back to a strangely familiar, yet unknown, past. Piece by piece, Nadia comes to realize who her real family was. But where are they now? What became of them? And what is her real name?

This story of a Lebensborn girl — a child kidnapped for her “Aryan looks” by the Nazis in their frenzy to build a master race — reveals one child’s fierce determination to uncover her past against incredible odds.
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Making Bombs for Hitler

In this companion book to the award-winning Stolen Child, a young girl is forced into slave labour in a munitions factory in Nazi Germany. In Stolen Child, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch introduced readers to Larissa, a victim of Hitler’s largely unknown Lebensborn program. In this companion novel, readers will learn the fate of Lida, her sister, who was also kidnapped by the Germans and forced into slave labour — an Ostarbeiter.

In addition to her other tasks, Lida’s small hands make her the perfect candidate to handle delicate munitions work, so she is sent to a factory that makes bombs. The gruelling work and conditions leave her severely malnourished and emotionally traumatized, but overriding all of this is her concern and determination to find out what happened to her vulnerable younger sister.

With rumours of the Allies turning the tide in the war, Lida and her friends conspire to sabotage the bombs to help block the Nazis’ war effort. When her work camp is finally liberated, she is able to begin her search to learn the fate of her sister.
In this exceptional novel Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch delivers a powerful story of hope and courage in the face of incredible odds.
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Georgetown Boys images now available online

It is thrilling to see that the United Church of Canada has digitized 128 photographic images of the Georgetown Boys. It can be accessed here.

Not familiar with the Georgetown Boys?After the Armenian Genocide of 1915, Canadian churches and the Armenian Canadian community collected donations and purchased Cedarvale Farm in Georgetown Ontario and transformed it into a home for 109 orphaned Armenian boys.

I wrote two books on this topic, Aram’s Choice and Call Me Aram.