What’s the Story?
This young adult novel, featuring striking photographs by David Wyman, is about a lifelong friendship between thirteen-year old T—and Sean, tested in ways that reveal the true depths of their bond. It’s about the connection forged between T— and a homeless woman named Lucy, a friendship unexpectedly cut short. It’s a story about photography — a passion that defines T—’s world — and questions about what a photograph doesn’t reveal. Young Man with Camera introduces us to a trio of adolescents who have made life miserable for T— because of facial burns, and to a librarian who introduces T— to a photographer whose portraits of the marginalized speak to him. This is a story about a young man who must make a moral choice about crime and punishment, a gifted photographer who stands at a crossroads and must choose between what he knows to be true and the price to be paid for staying silent. Young Man with Camera is about a boy, his camera and a singular perspective that gives him an uncommon strength.
Want to know more? Check out Scholastic Canada’s Q&A with Emil.
What’s the Word?
— Kirkus Reviews
“It should be a staple in English classes.”
— School Library Journal
“A deep story about the power of photography and friendship.”
“I am still processing this amazing book. It made me angry, it made me think, it made me smile. Every middle-school student should read this. The language is beautiful.”
— Rachel Seigel, Sales and Selection Strategist, EduCan Media
“Told through prose and photographs, this is a brutal heartbreak of a novel, deservedly just nominated for a Governor-General’s Award. Think of a darker version of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but from a modern-day 13-year-old photographer’s perspective. And instead of the Church, T– (that’s how readers know him) is wrestling with bullies. As his life spirals at the hands of an almost unbelievably maniacal classmate, T– clings to the solace and empowerment he finds in his camera. The language is poetic and evocative (“When you’ve been in the same boat with someone for a long time, you learn to speak Boat”) but believably young when the metaphor occasionally tips into cliché. One of the few books for this generation that will stick with them into adulthood.”
—Shannon Ozirny, The Globe and Mail
“Every once in a while you read a book that really sticks with you. You can’t get a character or a plot out of your head and think about the book for days. Young Man with Camera, by Emil Sher, is one of those books…[Sher’s] writing style is so expressive and finely crafted…The insights that T— presents about life are extraordinary, and I found myself rereading sentences just to soak them in…A book that will grip young adult readers from the first chapter…Sher has created a modern classic for young adults.”
— Kristen Ferguson, CM Magazine
“Emil Sher’s extensive background as a playwright is evident in his uniquely visual presentation of T–’s story. His masterful use of beautifully evocative language creates vivid pictures in the mind of the reader, which are complemented by David Wyman’s unembellished yet achingly expressive photographs.”
— Liane Shaw, Quill & Quire
“A startling narrative. The story takes a suspenseful and thrilling turn as T— learns about the complicated nature of power and silence. This book is terrifying and beautiful, despairing and courageous. Young Man with Camera is not simply a story of bullies and victims, but rather a close look at power and fear, and the ever-shifting nature of both. Readers will immediately connect with T— as they see the world through his unique perspective, tightly gripping their books to the very last page.”
— Melissa Page, Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the *NCTE
“This is what T— does with his camera: He makes the world larger, deeper, more beautiful and complex. Against this, the evil he confronts can only make the world smaller and uglier. And Young Man With Camera does the same; it reminds us that Art always confronts, and sometimes confounds, Darkness. This is a novel about the beauty that lies within, the darkness that comes from without, and the grace and nobility of a boy who sees it all through his lens. You will grow larger from having read this book.”
— Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Wednesday Wars and Orbiting Jupiter
“A brilliantly original voice and a gut-twisting story come together for a dazzling jewel of a book. Truly outstanding.”
— Kevin Brooks, author of Candy and winner of the Carnegie Medal for the best U.K. children’s book of 2014
*National Council of Teachers of English
Where Can I Buy a Copy?
Try your local independent bookstore. Please. If they don’t have it on their shelves, yell at the book-loving salesperson gently and ask them to order it. If you can’t wait that long — there’s something to be said for the child-like pleasure of anticipation — you’re a click away from the usual suspects.