Shayna's Shadows

Shayna's Shadows by Paul Philip Brown

Calling people names:

Is it harmless fun?

Or is it a dangerous first step towards bigotry?

Shayna's arrival at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Junior High School begins well until her Jewishness attracts the wrong kind of attention. Gilbert and his friends seem to be lurking everywhere, and it doesn't look as though they'll ever leave her alone.

From Yorkdale Shopping Centre to the underground city beneath Toronto, from SkyDome to the Young People's Theatre, Shayna struggles to find the courage to confront her tormentors before their hurtful prejudices overwhelm her.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Junior High School

Sample Chapter

According to the instructions she'd received, Shayna's homeroom class was supposed to be in Mrs. Fraser's room. A girl in the front hall of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Junior High School directed her to Room 214. Almost choking on the wad of bubble gum in her mouth when she asked for directions, Shayna reflected thankfully that that ugly pimple on her nose had gone away. It was one less thing to worry about.

The school was a modern one. Light streamed into the hallways from skylights overhead. The brightly painted walls and rows of blue, yellow and green lockers pleasantly surprised her as she walked in that hesitant way she had toward the room. Other kids were standing around in groups at their lockers talking and laughing. Not wanting to stare, Shayna looked at each group out of the corner of her eye as she passed them, thinking about what Gilbert had said. She wondered if any of these kids would turn out to be her friends, or whether these were some of the snobs that Gilbert had talked about.

If Gilbert was right about the teachers at Trudeau, Mrs. Fraser would be a real pill. So would all her other teachers, for that matter. She had meant to ask Gilbert about Mrs. Fraser, but the way he was talking, each teacher was worse than the next one, so it was probably just as well she hadn't. This way she could find out the bad news in person, instead of having heard it ahead of time and then worrying herself sick all weekend. The classroom door was open. Shayna thought she should get rid of the gum before she went in. Reluctantly, she tossed it into a garbage can just outside the doorway.

Shayna walked in slowly. The lady working at the front desk looked up, smiled and said, "Hi, I'm Mrs. Fraser. You must be Shayna. I've been expecting you. Welcome to Trudeau. You're the first one here today. The other students will be along soon. How about putting your things down on that desk there and we'll get you all the supplies and things you'll need." Shayna put her things down. Mrs. Fraser's friendly and helpful manner was unexpected. Maybe Gilbert was wrong about some of the teachers after all. Mrs. Fraser was busy collecting supplies from various parts of the room -- pencils and pens, an eraser, a ruler, several notebooks, a smaller-than-normal workbook, a combination lock and a yellow sheet that Shayna thought resembled a crossword puzzle. Mrs. Fraser, a tall, blond woman, possessed a naturally warm smile that brightened her whole face as she talked.

"These are the things you'll need to get started, Shayna," said Mrs. Fraser. "When Jessica gets here, I'll have her show you where your locker is. In the meantime, why don't you tell me about yourself?" Shayna hesitated. Could she trust this lady? Was the friendly manner an act, or was it real?