Title: I'll Be Watching
Author: Pamela Porter
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Concepts: poverty, scarcity, incentives
Review: First they had lost their mother, and not much later their father. The four Loney children - Ran, almost old enough to legally serve in the military; fourteen-year old Nora, who had taken over in the caregiver role; twelve-year old Jim, a rebel on the outside and sensitive on the indside; and little Addie, who had not uttered a word since Mama died - had little choice but to rely on their own wits for survival. The lived in a small Canadian prairie town in which the locals had very particular and unyielding ideas about the proper way to behave. The Loney children certainly did not fit the mold, and some members of the community did what they could to show their disapproval and make life difficult for them.
The bitter cold winter could have proved fatal for the children were it not for their own resourcefulness, the kindness of other members of the community who also did not fit the mold and found it in their hearts to help, and the watchful spirits of their departed parents. This combination helped them to stay warm, find food, and safegaurd their health. But would these sources of strength and support be enough to stave off the insiduous reach of the second world war?
This novel, written in verse from muliple points of view, offers a compelling tale of faith and courage in the face of suffering and evil. Thoroughly entwined throughout the text are a number of economics-related themes, including poverty, scarcity, and incentives. Note that several plot strands deal with death and sexual assault, making the book more appropriate for readers mature enough to handle such themes. The writing is excellent, with characters and lessons that are likely to stay with the reader long after the last page has been turned.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children