Not a Nickel to Spare

Coping with being poor during the Depression is hard enough, but Sally also has to deal with the anti-Jewish feelings in her community when she ventures outside her familiar Jewish neighbourhood. And her cousin Benny is always getting into scrapes Sally has to try to get him out of. Sally must find the strength and learn to cope with the world around her.

For more information about this novel:

http://www.scholastic.ca/dearcanada/books/notanickeltospare.htm

How i wrote Not a Nickel to Spare

I began thinking about the book that became Not a Nickel to Spare after reading about the riot that happened in Christie Pits Park in Toronto in the early nineteen thirties, in which groups of young men attacked each other for many hours after a Nazi swastika was unfurled during a softball game between Jewish and Christian teams.   I hadn’t known that the European political situation that eventually led to Word War II had inspired this sort of race-based violence in a place so close to home–right here in Canada, right in Toronto where my own parents, still in their teens, were living at the time.

And then it hit me: if my parents had been there at the time, they probably knew all about the riots and the events surrounding them!  Theymight even have been there at Christie Pits, which was near where they lived and where, I knew, my father had played softball when he was young.

Well, it turned out they hadn’t been involved in the riots.  But they did have all sorts of memories of their life at that time: everything from stories about funny and upsetting things that had happened to themselves and their brothers and sisters to details about the textbooks they used in school and the kinds of food they ate and the clothes they wore.  I endedup spending many hours interviewing them about their life at that time—and what they told me became the basis for the book I then wrote about young people much like them.

Because of those interviews, I learned about many fascinating aspects of my parents’ lives that I’d never have known otherwise.  If you try interviewing your own your own parents or grandparents, you might find out equally fascinating thin