Call Me Aram (2009), by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

This review was first published in Resource Links Magazine, Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults. It appears in volume 14.3.

Call Me Aram

“My name is Aram Davidian.  And I am a Canadian.”  Call Me Aram, sequel to Aram’s Choice (2006), is a simple and heart-warming story of the orphan boys brought to Canada during the Armenian Genocide, following World War I.  While the language is simple, author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch neither oversimplifies nor romanticizes the psychological and cultural difficulties overcome by the orphans, who found themselves on a farm in Ontario, initially with no one who understood their language and culture.  Based on historical fact, this story is powerful in teaching readers today of history, cross-cultural understanding, and charity.  That which the boys find strange—ice boxes, wood stoves, porridge with cream—today’s reader might easily find equally unfamiliar.  Skrypuch’s narrative voice, in explaining how Aram’s culture differs from Canada, also reveals how 1923 Canada differs from our world today.  There are many learning opportunities in this text; the depth to which the issues can be explored can be tailored to the age and maturity of the reading audience.  The addition of the glossary and historical notes lends validity to the text, rendering it not only a beautiful tale, but an inspiring part of our national history.

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