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Betti on the High Wire
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Betti on the High Wire

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  189 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Ten-year-old Babo has grown up on an abandoned circus camp in a war-torn country. She sleeps in the old lion cage and takes care of the other parentless “leftover kids,” telling them fantastical stories about the old circus days and finding ways to make them laugh. They need her. So Babo is not one single bit happy when an American couple wants to adopt her and change her ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published June 9th 2010)
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Paul Sheckarski
Privileged white author shoves words into little refugee girl's mouth. I know you've done work with refugees, woman, but that doesn't give you the right to speak as one of them, or to appropriate their struggle for your own profit and glory.

You go further, ignoring the fact that the countries responsible for all these wars you deplore are the ones you seem so desperate to valorize: rich, white, Western.

Teaching children, especially children of color, that they can trust policemen is painfully mi
Ok, yes. Yes, you know pretty much exactly what's going to happen as soon as you read a summary of this book. Yes, most of the characters are pretty darn flat. Yes, there are some cheesy parts.


But I have a weakness for adoption stories.
But the way that the author never reveals the country of origin is clever clever clever.
But the way that Betti approaches amerikan society with a completely fresh perspective is so illuminating.
But I loved the way that she deconstructed words so that she
Babo's parents will come back for her...

Or so she thinks. Sadly, Babo's reality is another. Her country is being torn by war and her parents are both dead, leaving her in the care of Auntie Moo, a woman who kindly took charge of the orphaned circus children after an attack. Luckily for Babo, an American family filed adoption papers. But will Babo, with her broken eye and missing toes, be able to adjust in her new country?

Railsback didn't hold back on the heartwrenching material. Babo's insisten
I won this book on good-reads first-reads, it is an audio book, I ended up listening to most off it and then I got it at the library, becasue I wanted to take it with me to finish it and I read faster then she was talking.
I liked both versions, it was an eye opening book on what it might be like for some refuge, foreign children when they first come to America. It broke my heart some, and made me want to be more patient with them.
Susan P
Sounded better than it was. A young girl from an unnamed war torn country is adopted by an American couple and their daughter. The author's writing style kept me off balance, and Betti was just weird enough to not be totally sympathetic or likeable. I give it a shrug.
Cristina Chaves
I met Lisa, the author, last week. She's a friend of my sister's and that's how I came across this book. She is the sweetest person you can imagine, so maybe my review will be a bit biased? Oh well. I know there's always something a bit unsettling about a white american writing stories about things they could never even dream of living themselves. But despite that I do believe Lisa was capable of capturing it all very well. The book was so sweet; I laughed, I cried (OK, mostly I cried :)), I was ...more
Debbie McNeil
Railsback has created memorable characters and very tender relationships that got to me despite a somewhat flawed story.
There's no limit to the number of beautiful stories, like this one, that the world is ready to receive. I feel certain that for many years to come, Betti on the High Wire will be a surprising and special revelation to thousands of readers who take a chance on it, branching out to discover the remarkable talent and emotional insight with which Lisa Railsback writes. Here is a story on par with just about anything else in the genre of children's literature from 2010, a book that I am very surpris ...more
So why is this book getting such a high rating? Because it is simply that good. It's not that it's a wildly made up fantasy about sparkly paranormal creatures or shape changing critters (though I love stories about both and the little girl in this story DOES have quite an imagination). It's not that it's a true story being recounted breath by breath (though it certainly could be and is is some fashion for many out there). It IS in fact the way the story speaks straight to your passin ...more
Cindy Hudson
At 10, Babo is the oldest in a camp of “leftover kids” who have lost their parents to war. She helps Aunt Moo care for the littler ones and likes to tell stories of her mama and dad who were in the circus. When families from America adopt Babo and her friend George, she worries that if she leaves, her parents won’t be able to find her when they come back. Babo, now Betti, finds her new home confusing and has trouble fitting in. She wants to go back to her home country, but each day she finds ano ...more
30% done and I can't keep reading. I have no curiosity whatsoever because I am pretty sure I can see where it is going. It comes from the imagination of the adoptive parent regarding what may be going on inside the head of a 10 year old, adopted from an unspecified war-torn land. The child is at an exceptionally difficult age for any adoption, and she wants to stay with what is familiar but she is not given that option and who would deny her a wealthy family, even if she doesn't want it?

What is
I got the ARC of this book from Goodreads, and it's a winner! Betti is rescued from a makeshift refugee camp on the grounds of an old circus and adopted by an American family. But the transition isn't easy for her. She's tough as nails on the outside, but inside she's afraid of hunger, soldiers, bombs, Americans, and what might be happening to the other children at the camp without her to take care of them.

There's enough going on in this book to please people reading for plot - in some ways it's

At ten years old Babo is the oldest of the “leftover” kids living at an abandoned circus camp in a small, forgotten, war-struck town. All children at the abandoned camp have no family and are slightly deformed, Babo has a “broken eye” that is completely blind, but that does not stop her from imagination, creativity and caring for the younger children. She is very mischievous and gets herself and others in loads of trouble at the camp. Babo is one of the only children living there that does not
Babo lives in the circus camp with the other left-over kids, orphans of an unnamed war in an unnamed country. She was found wandering in the destroyed camp when she was three-years-old, the only survivor of the traveling circus folk. But Babo believes her parents are still alive--her mother is the tallest woman in the world with a tail, her father the green alligator man and they live an active life in Babo's fertile imagination. Every night Babo tells her "Big Mouth" stories to the other kids i ...more
Me and the younger four listened to this on audio in the car.

Written from the perspective of a young orphaned girl who was internationally adopted and moved from her war-torn country to America.

I allowed the kids to set the star rating. They were captivated by Betty Bobo's experience.
Christine Smith
Delightful book we listened to on audiobook in our homeschool this year. Helped us put a little perspective on our typical suburban life. Our 4 youngest daughters kept asking for more. We have returned to it several times to make connections to our own lives.
Babo, with her "broken" eye and fantastical circus stories , is a "leftover" (orphan) from a war torn country and has only ever known poverty, hunger, and war. When she is unexpectedly adopted by an American "melon" family, she unwillingly must leave behind all she has known to start a new and unfamiliar life in America. Despite her constant efforts to be bad, Babo, now Betti, learns to adapt to her new home and family while realizing she doesn't have to forget her past. A combination of tragedy ...more
"Betti on the High Wire." is an amazing book about a young girl living in a broken down circus who is then adopted by americans. Talk about walk a mile in someone else"s. This book is a page turner and a perfect short- read
Rebecca McNutt
Betti's (Babo's) story of loss, friendship and growing up in an unknown country is written beautifully, with a great balance of both humor and seriousness.
Maybe 3.9 stars. I really liked Betti and how she processed the things she didn't understand.
I listened to the audiobook. Overall it is an enjoyable story about a girl adopted from a war-torn country and adjusting to life in America.The book has value for various Social Studies discussions about war and its effects, overseas adoptions,orphans, adapting, families,and more. Some parts of the story did not seem plausible. She grew up in a village in an abandoned circus but when she got to America she didn't know what a bicycle is? She knew some advanced English words but not basic words?
This story about a little girl orphaned by war in an unnamed country provides a beautifully insightful look into international adoption. Babo, or Betti, is adopted by a young American couple from her life in a refugee camp. Her courage and imagination help her to survive the reality of the war-torn country she lives in and aid in her difficult, but inevitable transition into her new life.

This is such a sweet story and I imagine would be helpful for parents and children in adoptive families.
I think grown-ups will like this one more than kids, but it is a good read. I was trying the whole book through to figure out where the country was and then read the author's note at the end where she revealed her reasons for not sharing. It bugged me!
I did like the plot device of Babo's MT (Empty) book and I think teachers of ESL students would be well advised to use a similar one to figure out where their students are not understanding idioms/expressions and words in English.
Betti/Babo is an orphan in a war-torn country. She gets adopted by an American family and has to adjust to the completely different world that the United States is, all while trying to stay faithful to the family of other "leftover" children she left behind. I loved Betti's voice, and the book was both funny and sad in a sweetly poignant way, if that makes any sense at all. Read it, and it will. :) I recommend this one to any age. Squeaky clean, and very good.
Babo/Betti comes from an unnamed war torn country. This made me very frustrated at first. By about the halfway mark I realized that the author is trying to give a snapshot of any kid that came from the daily challenge of physical and emotional survival. Babo/Betti is very endearing as are the cast of characters she is surrounded by. How can you not cheer for an entire cast of underdogs? Delightful little story that helped expand my world view.
An audio book we listened to while traveling. This is a great introduction to international adoption for elementary aged children, although we listened to it as a family with children ranging from 5 - 16. Betti's country of origin is never specified which leaves it open to the reader to decide. Having a child adopted internationally, this book helps siblings understand the culture shock as well as the emotional toll of that upheaval.
More like 3 and a half but you know...rounding up or something. A bit heavy-handed sometimes in terms of recurring imagery, characterization, etc and the letter at the end is slightly nauseating but...

Still, Betti/Babo is charming and there are not nearly enough books for tweenagers that tackle this subject matter in an entertaining and accessible

Ms. Railsback's bleeding heart is clearly in the right place.
Shirley Lukenbill
Wonderful characters with a story that tugs at your heart! Follow Babo as she adjusts from her life in a war-torn country to a new home with the American family who would like for her to stay with them. Babo cannot imagine leaving the only home she has known and the other children who look forward to her stories each day! How will she ever adjust to a new family and a new country? Don't miss this funny, hopeful book!
I really liked this book. Betti was a character to root for and I wanted her to succeed and feel safe so very badly. The only thing I didn't really like was the fact that Betti's country is never named. I know that was a concious choice by the author, but I found it disconcerting and kept trying to figure out where she was from.

Highly recommended for 4th and 5th grade.
Lori Sharp
"I stepped on a plane on one side of the world and stepped off on another." - Betti
WOW! Talk about a great story for a child in your class that has moved in to a new town and it is foreign to him or her. Very heartwarming story about a very mature 10-year old girl who is part of the circus, then has to be "transported" in to reality. Awesome read aloud story, too.
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I live on my ranchette on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, with dogs, cats, deer, and other wild animals. My environment is very serene; it is my writing sanctuary. Currently I'm writing plays and novels for kids.

One of my goals with NOONIE'S MASTERPIECE was to write a novel that would be relevant for both kids and adults. It's a tribute to any creative person who understands the joy, anguish, an
More about Lisa Railsback...
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