THE WHITE ZONE
Here is the link to an interview.
2012 Society of School Librarians International. Honor Book in Language Arts k-6 category.
Gold Medalist for 2012 Independent Publisher Awards
New York Public Library: Children's Books 2012-- 100 Books for Reading and Sharing
The Best Children's Books of 2013, Bank Street College of Education
Based on actual events, this novel is a realistic depiction of children caught up in hostilities they cannot fully understand. Although it touches on the American presence, the focus is on the conflicts between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. .. Marsden's detailed descriptions of everyday life make this culture come alive.-- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
Marsden’s knack for getting deeply into a culture and creating realistic, believable characters proves effective once again; this is an accessible and engaging window into a specific time and place that will have current relevance to many young readers and units of study. Descriptions are evocative, and juxtapositions between everyday realities and the violence effectively hint at the senselessness of the conflict.-- THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Marsden’s latest book puts a face on a bitter, centuries-old conflict that continues to rage... Particularly moving is the wanton destruction of Mutannabi Street, once the cultural capital of Baghdad. This tense novel will be particularly useful in the classroom. --BOOKLIST
Escalating financial, religious, and political tensions break apart families and destroy neighborhoods in Marsden’s ... commanding war story. ... As the boys’ bitterness battles with their longstanding affection for each other, their passions drive them to actions ranging from cruel and cowardly to brave and generous. --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
A decently executed exploration of the American presence in Iraq and the tensions between Shiites and Sunnis. --KIRKUS
Marsden tells a story that resonates highly in today's society where there are many different types of chaos disrupting lives and homes worldwide. -- VOYA
HOW I GOT THE IDEA: In January, 2008, I read an article in the paper about how snow had fallen in Baghdad for the first time in anyone's memory. During this miracle, all acts of war ceased. There was an informal truce. Although I had many other projects going, I was so captivated by this happening that I immediately set to work on a fictional story.