The Road from Home
The Road from Home: A True Story of Courage, Survival, and Hope, earlier titled The Road from Home: The Story of an Armenian Girl, is a non-fiction book written by David Kherdian, originally published in 1979. It is based on the life of the author's mother, Veron Dumehjian (1907-1981), who survived the Armenian Genocide. During the deportations, the rest of her immediate family died. She returned to her native town, only to be displaced again by the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22). After settling in Smyrna, she was forced to flee once more due to the Great Fire of Smyrna. Veron escaped to ultimately settle in the United States. The book is widely read by middle school children throughout the U.S. and has been published throughout Europe. It has received a number of prestigious awards.
Front cover of recent edition
|Cover artist||Nonny Hogrogian (1995 and later editions)|
—The first paragraph of The Road From Home
The book begins with the early life of Veron Dumehjian (1907-1981) in her native city of Azizya (today Emirdağ) in the province of Eskişehir. She was born into a wealthy Armenian family and had a comfortable and secure life. When the Armenian Genocide began in 1915, eight-year-old Veron along with her family were forcefully removed from their homes and deported. During the deportations, Veron's entire immediate family, including her father, mother, brothers, and sisters died either from diseases contracted along the way or due to exhaustion. Now an orphan at the age of eleven, Veron managed to survive in the Syrian desert with the help of distant relatives. When her relatives had difficulty taking care of her, she was placed in an orphanage and remained there until she was twelve years old. She then returned to her native town of Azizya and lived with her grandmother.
The Greco-Turkish War reached her village and Veron was gravely wounded. After recovering, she moved to the seaside town of Smyrna to live with her aunt. She was forced to flee once more due to the Great Fire of Smyrna, when Greek and Armenian refugees were crammed into the waterfront of the city and forced into the sea. Veron and her aunt were rescued by a boat and taken to Greece. There, Veron married an Armenian-American, Melkon Kherdian. She ultimately moved to the United States and settled in Wisconsin.
The Road from Home is based on the first-person accounts of David Kherdian's mother Veron. Upon the request of her son, Veron Dumehjian had written an eleven-page transcript of her memories in Armenian. Kherdian recorded Veron's account as she read it out loud. Upon recounting the part where her mother died, Veron began to cry and had difficulty continuing. It was the first time Kherdian had seen his mother cry. Nevertheless, Veron managed to complete the story and the book was published in 1979. Although the book is based on true events, parts of the dialogue were created by the author.
Reception and awardsEdit
The Road from Home is Kherdian's most famous book. Its success has increased awareness of the Armenian Genocide. The book has been published in most European countries and in many other places, including Japan. It has been republished several times in the United States and is increasingly read in middle schools throughout the country.
The Road from Home has received numerous awards and recognitions including:
- Center for the Study of Children's Literature (1987). Harrison, Barbara; Maguire, Gregory (eds.). Innocence & experience: essays & conversations on children's literature (1st ed.). New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. p. 278. ISBN 0688061230.
- Gillespie, John T.; Naden, Corinne J. (2001). The Newbery companion: booktalk and related materials for Newbery Medal and Honor books (2nd ed.). Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. p. 337. ISBN 1563088134.
- Totten, Samuel, ed. (2012). Plight and fate of women during and following genocide (1st paperback print. ed.). New Brunswick: Transaction. p. 19. ISBN 1412847591.
- Miller, Betty Davis; Thomas, Virginia Coffin (1986). Children's literature for all God's children. Atlanta: J. Knox Press. p. 70. ISBN 0804216908.
- MacDonald, Eleanor Kay (1996). A window into history family memory in children's literature. Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx. pp. 4–5. ISBN 9780313097607.
- Silvey, Anita (1995). Children's books and their creators. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 371. ISBN 0395653800.
- Magill, Frank N., ed. (1993). Masterplots II. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press. p. 1502. ISBN 0893567035.
- Mahony, Bertha E. (1981). "The Road From Home by David Kherdian". The Horn Book Magazine. Bookshop for Boys and Girls. 57: 318.
- Telgen, Diane (1993). Something about the author. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Inc. pp. 147–50. ISBN 0810322846.
- ""You Grow Up and Tell My Story": Author David Kherdian". YouTube. Facing History and Ourselves.
- Festekjian, Armen (12 September 2013). "David Kherdian: A Life Saved by Writing Arts". The Armenian Mirror Spectator.
- "Lecture Series to Feature Acclaimed Authors, Illustrator on May 2". Fresno State News. 26 April 2006.
- Soghomonian, Sarah (May 2005). "Authors David Kherdian and Nonny Hogogrian Speak on Campus" (PDF). Hye Sharzhoom. 26 (4): 3.
- "Past Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winners". The Globe-Horn Book.
- "National Book Awards - 1980". National Book Foundation.
- "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922-Present". American Library Association.
- "Previous Book Award Winners" (PDF). Jane Addams Peace Association.
- "Banta Award 1980". Wisconsin Library Bulletin. Division of Library Services, Department of Public Instruction. 75-76: 304. 1979.