“Waiting for Peace” by Liza M. Wiemer

I took a break from YA for a few days to read Waiting for Peace: How Israelis Live with Terrorism, a nonfiction book by authors Liza M. Wiemer and Benay Katz. Liza’s fictional YA novel HELLO? debuts October 27, 2015 from Spencer Hill Contemporary. If HELLO? has even a smidgen of the depth Liza’s nonfiction contains, it’s going to be a very powerful read.

Waiting for Peace focus on Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as told through interviews Liza conducted with Israelis on a very gutsy trip in 2002. Everyone she spoke to had been the victim of terrorism in some way, either personally or through family and friends. At one point, Liza boards an armored bus and travels to Kadim in the West Bank. My understanding is that now, over a decade later, Kadim is no longer there! Liza faithfully captures what daily life was like for those residents, as well as in urban areas as well.

I’m normally a fast reader, but there was no possible way I could “speed read” this book because I found myself moved to tears on every page. For example, I can’t begin to fathom the courage of the Z A K A volunteers, whose mission is to recover the lost body parts of disaster victims and see that they are properly buried. I can’t imagine what it would be like to send my daughter and her three friends into a mall and then discover there were terrorists in the area, or to see my son ride a school bus with an armed soldier.

Through Liza’s interviews, I feel like I met people on the other side of the world, living a life I only see on the news. I hope that educators discover Waiting for Peace because I think chapter excerpts would provide rich context for high quality discussion. Yes, the book is a bit dated now, but unfortunately the themes it so thoughtfully examines are as fresh as ever.

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