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The Frozen Waterfall

The author, Gaye Hicyilmaz, lived in Turkey for many years before moving with her family to Switzerland. She now lives in England. The Frozen Waterfall is the story of 12-year-old Selda, who moves from Turkey to Switzerland, where she must cope with a new language and culture. She sets about this with determination and forms two friendships, one with a boy her age — an illegal Turkish immigrant — and the other with a wealthy Swiss girl in her class. Her family disapproves of both friendships. Her only ally is her brother, who is secretly helping such immigrants.
Her peers at school constantly tease Selda — about her clothes, her inability to communicate and her defiant attitude. Her talent in mathematics and her teacher’s sympathy make life bearable and so do her two friendships. It is at a school picnic that the ice is finally broken. Selda’s classmates are fascinated by the Turkish delicacies that her mother has prepared.
Selda and her family are eventually accepted into the small community. Her Swiss friend invites her for the holidays to their mountain chalet where she first sees a frozen waterfall.
Hicyilmaz successfully captures what it feels like to move from one culture to another, a theme that continues in Coming Home. Her other books include Girl in Red.


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