Monday, November 7, 2016

Warman, Janice. The World Beneath: A Novel.

Warman, Janice.   The World Beneath: A Novel.   Candlewick Press  2016  159p.  $16.99  ISBN 978-0-7636-7856-2  ms/hs  Historical fiction  VG-BN    

In this short novel, a young boy named Joshua comes of age in Apartheid South Africa, living with his mother in the home of her employer and learning first-hand of the injustices faced by his people, as well as the burgeoning movement to make a revolutionary change. When the reader first encounters Joshua, he is cowering in the closet of his mother’s employer, afraid of being seen or heard, just trying to survive. His older brother, who was involved in the anti-Apartheid movement, has been murdered in Johannesburg, far away from the place where Joshua and his mother live. News of rioting and police excesses reach him via a fugitive who has come to ask for help, as well as by a white reporter who happens to be the employer’s son.

By the end of the novel, Joshua has become involved with the underground revolutionary movement that will soon free South Africa’s black population from Apartheid.
The style is terse and suspenseful. There is a glossary in the back explaining some of the commonly used terms. The book would have been enhanced by a timeline and perhaps a little more historical context for those children who are not familiar with Apartheid and the movement to end it.     

Summary: A young boy growing up in Apartheid South Africa in 1976 comes of age and learns what it means to fight for one’s beliefs and one’s freedom.   

Apartheid-Fiction, South Africa-History-Fiction --Carol Kennedy

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