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.


Crazy Beautiful might qualify. Lucius did a terrible once, resulting in his own tragic condition. Now he needs to find redemption.
LitWitch said…
SHIVER by Maggie Steifvater might qualify re: Sam's parents, or each other!
Not about institutional restorative justice, but very much about familial forgiveness, is The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones.
Deborah Kerbel said…
Hi Mitali!
My newest YA, Girl on the Other Side, has an underlying current of empathy and forgiveness running through it.
tanita davis said…
Dare I put forth my own novel? MARE'S WAR is as much about WWII as it is about Mare forgiving herself for the choices she made, forgiving her mother for being who she was, and for only being able to give her, emotionally, what she had. I wrote it for some of the same reasons - my grandmother died a bitter, horrible woman, and I think I wanted to give her redemption, so I wrote her into a better story.

I love those doves. Pax to you, too.
Sherry said…
Gone from these Wood by Donna Bailey Seagraves. A boy must forgive himself and recover from his accidental shooting of his beloved uncle in a hunting accident.

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur . Aubrey must forgive her mother for child neglect and desertion and find a way to restore their relationship.
Would also like to recommend Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe and Right Behind You by Gail Giles.
Doret said…
Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Bait by Alex Sanchez - The MC must learn to forgive his stepfather for abusing him and his mother for looking the other way.

Still thinking
Anonymous said…
How about THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice? It's MG. The MC and her friend both deal with forgiving parents.

R A Deckert said…
You might want to take a look at the Worldweavers series by Alma Alexander - where this is one of the story threads, particularly in the third book, "Cybermage".