The Reappearance of Sam Webber
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Titel: The Reappearance of Sam Webber
Verlag: Candlewick April 1, 2001, Cambridge, MA
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Jonathon Scott Fuqua’s work of fiction has already proven itself as a literary achievement by earning several influential honors, including the prestigious ALA 2000 Alex award. Evoking a child’s struggle to triumph over fear and despair, it explores the complex issues of race and class in the "fading light" of Baltimore. This debut novel will strike as powerful a chord with young readers as it has with adults.
The protagonist, eleven-year-old Sam Webber, has been called "Little Sam" his whole life. But now Big Sam has disappeared, perhaps for good. Without his dad, Little Sam is just plain "Samuel"—and lonely. When he and his mom have to move from their comfortable Baltimore home to a rough inner-city neighborhood, he has plenty to be afraid of: the depression that seems to be engulfing his mother, the taunts of a middle-school bully, his own grief, and bouts of nausea and hyperventilation. But when Greely, the janitor at his school, strikes up an unlikely friendship, Sam begins to see his life—like the varied row houses of his new neighborhood—in a gentler light. Will a surer, stronger Sam Webber emerge from the shadows?
Eleven-year-old Sam Webber was never very good at making friends his own age. In fact, he felt closest to his mother and father: "I always enjoyed my parents' company more than anyone else's." So Sam is devastated when, without warning, his father abandons the family. Forced to move to a poorer neighborhood of Baltimore, Sam has to adjust to a strange school, a small, squalid apartment, and recurring bouts of nervous nausea and hyperventilation. Retreating to a world of comic books and G.I. Joe figures, Sam sinks into a deep depression. It is only when he strikes up an unlikely friendship with the school janitor, Greely, that Sam begins to creep out of his shell and connect with the world again. Surrounded by Greely, his mom, and his mom's friends (the ever-jolly Junie and her curmudgeonly husband Ditch), Sam learns, in the year after his father's disappearance, how to trust again--and become a stronger Sam Webber.
Jonathon Scott Fuqua's sensitively written first novel displays a true understanding of teen depression while sending the uplifting message that it won't last forever. Nominated for the Alex Award, which was established by the American Library Association to highlight outstanding adult books for teenagers, The Reappearance of Sam Webber is an engaging, thoughtful read for both teens and parents. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
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