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Focus. Click. Wind

Groundwood Books 2023

What if your country is fighting a war that deliberately kills innocent people, and your government wants you to be part of the murder machine?

It’s 1968, and the Vietnam War has brought new urgency to the life of Billie Taylor, a seventeen-year-old aspiring photojournalist. Billie is no stranger to risky situations, but when she attends a student protest at Columbia University with her college boyfriend, and Senator Bobby Kennedy is assassinated, her mother decides to move to Canada. Furious at being dragged away from her beloved New York City to live in a backwater called Toronto, Billie doesn’t take her exile lightly.

As her mother opens their home to draft evaders and deserters, Billie’s activism grows in new ways. She discovers an underground network of political protesters and like minds in a radical group based in Rochdale College, the world’s first “free” university. The stakes rise when she is exposed to horrific images from Vietnam of the victims of Agent Orange — a chemical being secretly manufactured in a small town just north of Toronto.

Suddenly Billie has to ask herself some hard questions. How far will she go to be part of a revolution? Is violence ever justified? Or does standing back just make you part of the problem?

New York City in the 1960s is the humming backdrop for this poignant, gritty story about a girl who sees her parents as flawed human beings for the first time, and finds the courage to make a fresh start. American League of Poets

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