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.

Toronto Police

Sample Chapter

"I'm really embarrassed to be here in this dummy class, Mrs. Fraser." Shayna surprised herself. Whatever possessed her to blurt that out? Somehow, in the space of a few short minutes, Mrs. Fraser had made her feel comfortable and relaxed. She already felt she could trust her. "I don't think I'm stupid, but I just couldn't manage to do the work at Solomon. My mother said she's . . . ah . . . mortified, whatever that means, about this whole thing."

"Actually, Shayna, you might be surprised at some of the nice things I've heard about you from Mr. Epstein."

Shayna was indeed surprised that Mr. Epstein, her counsellor at Solomon, had anything nice to say about her. "What did you hear about me, Mrs. Fraser?"

Mrs. Fraser had finished putting all her supplies together in a neat pile. "Well, one of the things he told me was that you did a project on skating and it was neatly typed and very well illustrated with photographs, some of which showed you figure skating. Do you skate often?"

"I haven't been allowed to skate much lately because of my low marks," said Shayna, "but I sure do like it a lot."

Just then, a black-haired, black-eyed girl bounced into the room as if she'd just left a nearby dance floor. "Good morning, Mrs. Fraser," she sang. Then she smiled at Shayna. "Hi. I'm Jessica Morris. You must be Shayna. Mrs. Fraser asked me yesterday to be your guide and helper for a few days. Grab your stuff and I'll show you where your locker is." "Are you in the reading class too, Jessica?" asked Shayna as they wove their way through the crowded hall.

"Yes and no. I used to be full time up until this year, but I've improved enough so that I only spend one period a day there. As a matter of fact, I was told I could try this year without any special reading help at all, but I felt I could still use it. Besides, this way I get a chance to see my friends from last year every day, and Mrs. Fraser too."

They were standing in front of a row of bright green lockers. "This one's yours, Shayna."

Shayna stretched up high to put her things onto the upper shelf, took back one notebook and her pencil case, and closed the locker door, snapping the combination lock shut. "Jessica, what's Mrs. Fraser like? Is she really as nice as she seems?"

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