Kid/YA Books About Forgiveness

My grandfather died a bitter man. He never recovered from the commandeering of our family jute farm in Bangladesh, hating that he'd had to resettle in Kolkata as a dependent, almost penniless old man.

Two generations removed from that loss, I have the freedom and distance to reflect on the shadow of unforgiveness in our family. I've shared the story of a meaningful visit I made to our ancestral property, when two white doves appeared out of nowhere to rest on the doorway of the house. (I was so stunned, I took a photo so I wouldn't think I was dreaming.) One of the reasons I wrote BAMBOO PEOPLE was to explore the possibility and process of forgiveness.

I've been reading stories posted at The Forgiveness Project — stories of those who've suffered deeply and yet managed to forgive the person who caused that suffering.  And what about the other side? How does it work for the perpetrator? Declan Kavanagh's poem "What Kept Us Apart" as featured in this video sheds light on how it is to live with blood on your hands (scroll forward to 6:13 if you're short on time).

As the year comes to a close, I want to compile a list of novels published in 2009 for children and teenagers that illuminate the difficult task of restorative justice and forgiveness. Any suggestions? Please leave them in the comments.