'Moss explains the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in clear and unbiased terms.'
Delighted to hear that Girl on a Plane has been voted the winner in the older readers' category of the North Herts Schools Book Award.
Linda Aird, Librarian at St Christopher's School, writes: Girl on a Plane was the winner by a very healthy margin, and was obviously much enjoyed and admired by the large group of 11 - 16 year old students who voted it their favourite. I personally found the book a compelling and fascinating read, and liked the way you showed both sides of a very complex story.
Delighted that my short story, Salvage, is one of ten chosen by competition judge, Neel Mukherjee, for inclusion in the 2017 Fish Anthology. I'll be reading from the story at the launch of the Anthology at the West Cork Literary Festival in July.
Wonderful taking Girl on a Plane to Sri Lanka to meet the staff and students at Thiththagalla school.Read More
Really enjoyed meeting the lovely staff and students at Chailey School on January 10th for a Girl on a Plane presentation in the hall and a writing workshop with Year 9 in the Library.
Really enjoyed working with the lovely children, parents and staff at Netley Marsh School. We talked about how important it is to be empathic and how putting ourselves in other people's shoes makes us more likely to understand them and appreciate their differences. Then, using my Smudge and Stripe picture book stories and a lot of role play, the children made up their own stories - and they were wonderful!
This story starts out like any other. A girl is getting ready to go back to school and is flying out the next morning. She is part of a family that moves around a lot due to her dad being in the military. The author did an amazing job letting us get to know Anna and her family before her world is turned upside down. I wasn't very sure about this book when I first started but I found out early on that I wasn't going to be able to put it down.
This book is all told while Anna and the other passengers are being held hostage on a plane in the desert but the author again does an amazing job working with this environment. It never felt stagnant when the characters weren't going anywhere. The descriptions of their four days on the plane were vivid and I felt like I was right along with them.
The flow of this story is worked out so well. Each point unfolds beautifully! This story of survival will touch your heart while ripping it open. All of the characters in this story were amazing. But the three main ones Anna, David, and Tim were the best. Anna is such a strong character. Even though she is in this very high stress situation she only loses her cool a few times. Usually she buttons it up and keeps going. I hope if by some horrible turn of events I am ever in a situation like this that I could be like Anna as well. Tim and David were amazing. I wish that the author could have given us more information on what happened to them afterwards. I know via the amazing Q and A in the back of the book that in real life she did keep tabs with some of the other passengers but then lost touch, to only reconnect after this book was released. But for the story it would have been an interesting turn of events to know what happened to them. As well as the turtle!!
Half way through this story I decided to look up the events of the 1970 Dawson's Field hijackings, as at the time I wasn't even born. And what I found were many pictures and information about what happened. This is a great story for those who wish to have their children search about history.
The ending was great. I loved hearing about the future, 45 years later when Anna struggles to put the past in the past. This is one story that will keep you thinking about it for a while.
Book in a Pinch: Girl's plane is hijacked by refugees
Go Into This One Knowing: It’s a heart-pounding story based on the author’s real experience with the hijackings of 1970.
Absolutely delighted to hear that GIRL ON A PLANE has been nominated for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Thank you to the incredible team at Andersen Press for publishing it, and to all the wonderful librarians that nominated it!
Miriam gave a talk about GIRL ON A PLANE to Years 8 and 9 at Roedean School, Brighton. To put the 1970 hijack in perspective, she showed a short film including real footage, then gave a PowerPoint talk about writing from life, a short reading, took questions and signed books.
GIRL ON A PLANE by Miriam Moss is based on an actual hijacking of a commercial flight in Bahrain in 1970. The main character, Anna, is a 15 year old passenger on the plane headed to her boarding school in London after a summer with her family in Bahrain, where her father is stationed in the British Armed Forces.
Shortly into her flight, the plane is hijacked by a group of Palestinians know as the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and the group demands that the plane land in a Jordanian desert on an abandoned airstrip. Once there, the PFLP issues demands to the British government to release a political prisoner. This order must be met to secure the release of the hostages on the plane or the guerrillas will blow them up with the explosives that litter the airfield. In addition to this excruciating uncertainty, the passengers face deteriorating conditions during their four day ordeal in the desert, including limited food and water, no bathrooms and oppressive heat.
This enthralling and suspenseful novel immerses the reader into the story. Moss creates an outstanding sense of imagery throughout the book and I felt caught up in the same issues as Anna and her other passengers on the flight, asking myself, “What would I do in this situation?” On board, Anna quickly develops relationships with the two passengers sitting next to her, Tim and David, and the trio illuminates the different perspectives of passengers during the crisis. Tim is an the elementary school boy who seems to be most focused on ensuring his beloved terrapin makes it out alive. This is contrasted with David, the high school student who was singularly concerned for his own safety, and Anna, who is cognizant of the grief that her family must be experiencing. Despite their differences, the three became a source of support for one another, bonding together during the traumatic event, trading personal stories along the way.
Written as a fictional account of actual events the author experienced when she was a teenager on a hijacked flight, Moss employs captivating and explicit words to detail the chaotic hijacking and the frenetic aftermath. She also adds griping background about the hijacker’s lives prior to the event and provides intriguing context about why the PFLP acted as they did. Through this, Moss balances the good and the evil, and it makes the reader better understand the hijacker’s anger. This all made for an engaging novel, allowing the reader to get to know the characters at a deeper level as they navigated through this excruciating journey. Typically a picture book author, this is Moss’ first fiction novel and I eagerly anticipate her next one, she has made a seamless transition into this genre. I would recommend this book to a contemporary loving young adult reader looking to read historical novels, as it has encouraged me to pursue more titles that are historical fiction!
MOSS, MIRIAM Girl on a Plane.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016 [288p] ISBN 978-0-544-78399-
R Gr. 7-10
Fifteen-year-old Anna leads a divided life, traveling between her English boarding school and her family in Bahrain, where her father is stationed. The Middle East is a volatile place in 1970, however, and on this trip back to the UK, Anna’s plane is hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and flown to a desert airstrip in Jordan. There Anna and her fellow passengers wait as hostages, hoping for their eventual release and fearing a tragic end. Moss bases the story on her own experiences as a teen aboard a hijacked airplane in 1970, and she does an excellent job with the details of the experience, effectively conveying the convergence of small annoyances (drunk fellow passengers), serious discomforts (the scarcity of food and water, the temperature rising above 100°F in the airplane’s metal fuselage in the desert), and large fears (one captor who clearly wishes to kill them all). Anna’s bonding with her seatmates David (an agemate) and Tim (a young boy tending his beloved little turtle) adds another dimension of emotional reality, as do Anna’s wary conversations with one of the hijackers. Ultimately, the book combines you- are-there reality with the shape of fictional narrative, and it’ll make for wide-eyed and suspenseful reading. An extensive epilogue describes Moss’ recent return to the site; a note differentiates the fact from the fiction.
Girl on a Plane
On September 9th, 1970, 15-year-old Anna sets foot on a British Overseas Airways flight from Bahrain to London. Moments later, the plane is hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The fourth in a series of recent hijackings, the 105 passengers on Anna's flight are used to negotiate the release of prominent PFLP "comrade" Leila Khaled from British prison. Rooted in Moss' real-life experience, the novel chronicles four devastating days in the Jordanian desert as Anna and fellow passengers are deprived of food, water and electricity, and enveloped by tanks, reporters, and rigged explosives - while the region erupts in civil unrest, and the world, including Anna's frantic family, holds it's breath. It can be hard to grasp the timeline of the book's major events, and some readers will crave an overview of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nevertheless, Anna's agreeable first-person dialogue opens dialogue to interesting voices: freckled schoolboy Tim (and tough pet terrapin, Fred); cynical yet sensitive David; and Palestinian refugee Jamal. A unique glimpse into a pivotal point in world history.
GIRL ON A PLANE - IS PUBLISHED IN USA by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Miriam's event on August 13th was with Adrien Bosc (Constellation, Serpent's Tale) and was chaired by Eleanor Updale.
An intense, realistic and absolutely gripping story .. and a thrilling read. School Library Journal, USA
Fifteen-year-old Anna has been living in Bahrain with her family while her father has been stationed there by the British Armed Forces. She is supposed to fly back to her English boarding school by herself. It is September 1970, and the plane is hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), who force the pilot to land the plane at a deserted airstrip in the Jordanian desert and turn off the power. The guerrillas demand the release of imprisoned PFLP members, and they threaten to blow up the plane and kill the passengers unless their demands are met. Anna and her fellow passengers suffer from heat and cold, hunger and thirst, and the claustrophobic confinement of the plane as they wait to see whether they will live or die. It is implied that one of the guerrillas sexually assaults a young woman on the plane, but this is never made explicit. Moss was a teenager when she was on a plane hijacked by Palestinian terrorists in the fall of 1970, and this book is a slightly fictionalized version of her experience. This is an intense, realistic, and absolutely gripping story; many readers have never heard of this incident and won’t know the outcome. It is not a one-sided treatment; a PFLP guerrilla tells Anna about the deaths of his family members and atrocities that occurred in Palestine. VERDICT An excellent choice for a book discussion or for a class on world history, and a thrilling read.
Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Miriam worked with children in Sharjah at Dar Al Marefa School, the Australian International School, and took part in a panel discussion in the Expo Centre on Childhood Experiences and the Role of Children's Literature with Jon Walter and AbduRida AlSajwani.
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GIRL ON A PLANE has been longlisted for the 2016 Branford Boase Award, for outstanding YA novels - and their editors - with thanks to Charlie Sheppard.