Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

When Morning Comes

Raina, Arushi (Author)
Tradewind Books 2016. 232 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781896580692 (hardcover)
9781926890142 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Historical

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, language conventions, point of view, setting

Award

Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People – Finalist – 2017

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The four alternating first-person narrators are powerful, believable young characters that embody various strains of political awareness and racial privilege in South Africa in the 1970s. Zanele, the connection between the four young people, is secretly fighting the government; her friend Thabo is involved with gangs; Jack is rich and white; Meena’s family supposedly avoids racial politics. Their four lives begin to come together when Meena discovers forbidden literature in her father’s shop.

The characters are anything but straightforward. For instance, Thabo, finding the body of a math teacher who refused to stop teaching in Afrikaans, is so jaded he merely checks the professor’s pockets and walks away, yet he looks after the families of gang members who are living in the slums.

Each of the four exemplifies some protest, imbued with the zeal of youth and the blind trust that their convictions are not hopeless. They stand together, as Zanele explains, “because, if I don’t, there’s nothing left to fight for.”

This rare and subtle narrative, delivering plot twists along with historical information, reveals a Johannesburg rife with perpetual police presence and tense checkpoints, complicated underworld codes, elaborate racial and socioeconomic rules and now, linguistic divisions—the “baas laws” that spark the student unrest. The pace of the plot accelerates as the narrated sections get shorter, with the violence coming to a suspenseful, graphic climax—a reminder that, for so many years, the alternatives to living under apartheid were escape or death.

  •  

    The narrative is rendered through the voices of young characters from different racial heritages which impact their understandings and experiences of apartheid. Multiple voices offer different perspectives on the uprising and events that come out of it.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss the context and qualities that make a good leader. Which of these characteristics does Zanele have?

  •  

    Use the text as an anchor for the exploration (inquiry) of student protests and civil engagement by young people around the world. Share your learning via a multimedia presentation for an audience of peers and adults.

  •  

    Research apartheid and discuss your findings with a partner. What parallels can you find in North American history? What conclusions can you draw from your findings and discussion? Are race relations today better or worse?

  •  

    Do a character analysis for each of the four main characters. Be sure to cover their background, appearance, personality, language(s) spoken and habits. Also comment on the relationships among the four.

  •  

    Write a book review, focusing on the novel’s plot twists and turns. Be sure to give an overall appreciation of the story as well as its finer points.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Social Sciences