Three Wishes compiles thoughts and opinions from about 20 Israeli and Palestinian children. I think the article that discussed the criticisms of this book was biased (obviously, but that’s ok), but it seems some of those quoted in the article, like teachers, probably didn’t read the entire book.
I found that yes, indeed, the Israeli army was pretty much portrayed in a poor light by most of the Palestinians and some Israelis, but there were other Israelis that were thankful for the army and so that perspective was included as well. There was one Palestinian girl who also pointed out they were just doing their job (though it’s unfortunate that she also thought they enjoyed the harm they inflicted). So yes, I’ll give the critics that. I did find just as many negative viewpoints of Palestinians from Israelis though as vice-versa. I think both people are fortunate to have some of those children who are able to get past everyone else’s anger and hate and realize that war is just stupid, though with no easy solution, and want to work for change. It was good to see that many of the children did have hope. It was heart-breaking to read the stories of those who have lost hope.
Every child’s commentary is prefaced with a bit more info about the situation, like a description of what settlements are, the difference between roadblocks and checkpoints, or an organization that helps kids. In addition there are 4 pages at the front that give a brief overview to the situation. I know many of you think that’s no way enough, especially considering there’s been volumes and volumes written about this, but really, for those of us who aren’t personally involved, and for children, it is enough background and it is written at a level that a child can understand. As one child in the book says, “I’m eight, which is not too young to know about war and bombs” (p. 41) Sad, but true. At least children over here can read about war and don’t have to live it.
I think Deborah Ellis has done an excellent job of collecting accounts from a variety of children who had a lot of different things to say about their lives and the effect of the war.
Now I just have to send it off to my god-daughter and get her reaction. I suspect this isn’t the type of thing she really enjoys reading (she’s still into Jigsaw Jones), but hopefully she’ll read it anyway.