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A Time of Miracles

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  504 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Winner of the Batchelder Award--this tale of of exile, sacrifice, hope, and survival is a story of ultimate love.

Blaise Fortune, also known as Koumaïl, loves hearing the story of how he came to live with Gloria in the Republic of Georgia: Gloria was picking peaches in her father’s orchard when she heard a train derail. After running to the site of the accident, she found a
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2009)
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Apr 13, 2013 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Judy by: Amanda
My name is Blaise Fortune and I am a citizen of the French Republic. It's the pure and simple truth.

So A Time of Miracles introduces the reader into the life of the refugees, Blaise (Koumail) and Gloria. Blaise, a young boy and Gloria, his guardian, find themselves on the run again and again as Russian soldiers approach. It seems they can't settle anywhere for any period of time!

Despair, she says, is more dangerous and more clever than the Armenian who knocked out Sergei. It is invisible and sl
I would've loved this book when I was in middle school. Back then, I sought out stories of heartbreak and disaster---most of them set in wartime and most of them offering a glimpse of the beauty still possible in the middle of human waves of conflict. Most of those stories would've been set during the Holocaust, but this one isn't. It begins in a makeshift camp called the Complex, in 1992, a time so recent that I was bewildered not to know of it, scrambling to figure out what was going on and wh ...more
2011 Batchelder Award winner

I have a European heart, and this story told by 18YO Koumaïl looking back on his life is a beauty. Part mystery, part history, part coming of age story, his tale begins at the fall of Soviet Georgia where 7YO K manages to have a childhood while dodging revolutionaries, starvation, and other disasters alongside his adored and adoring Gloria, a woman who claims to have adopted him after his mother was badly injured in a train wreck."A Time of Miracles" tells of K's sear
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I thought this was pretty good. I did have some difficulty keeping the roughly contemporary time in mind, but that's not the fault of the book but rather our own little self-centered culture that makes it difficult to see that it can be different and difficult in order places in today's world. It does open up a fascinating world view, although one that is blurred by the confusion of childhood and memory. Gloria's character seems a bit strange at first but later here is explanation for this, alth ...more
Je demande à Gloria ce que nous ferions ensuite. Elle hausse les épaules:
- Ce que nous avons toujours fait, Koumaïl : marcher droit devant vers d'autres horizons.
- OK. (Le Temps Des Miracles, S. 21)

Das erste Mal begegnet der Leser Blaise Fortune an der französischen Grenze. Allein, in einem Lastwagen versteckt und von Zollbeamten entdeckt. Gloria, die auf ihn aufpasst seit er ein kleines Baby ist, verschwunden. Jemapèlblèzfortunéjesuicitoyendelarépubliquedefrancecélapurvérité.
Dann beginnt er s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audience: This book would be best for a 6th – 10th grade audience. Some of the more complex ideas may gear this book towards advanced 3rd grade readers.

Appeal: I think this book would be appealing to this age group because of the ideals it insights. For example: love, inspiration, fear and freedom.

Application: Since this book is intended for a young adult audience, it would most likely be read on individual time. For this reason, I would include the book with options for individual reading requi
I read this short, poignant book after an 8th grade girl told me she loved it, and it made her cry. I loved it too. Taking place during the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the story is about two refugees: a young boy named Koumail, and Gloria, his adored guardian. They are trying to make their way to France, where they hope to find a better life. Koumail loves to hear the story of how Gloria rescued him as an infant from a train wreck which injured his French mother – he carries a pas ...more
Wow. This book was really good.

Blaise Fortune (AKA Koumail) begins his story, "My name is Blaise Fortune and I am a citizen of the French Republic. It is the pure and simple truth." Koumail describes the journey he and his caregiver, Gloria, embark upon through the Caucacus Mountain region of Georgia in the 1990s. His earliest memories include his head being shaved with a straight razor by an angry drunk in charge of a refugee complex. Gloria has kept Koumail safe from the rebels and effects of
Andrea Mullarkey
What a treat to read some YA fiction that isn’t dystopian! A Time of Miracles is historical fiction and a lovely coming of age story set in the Caucasus following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Koumaïl and Gloria are traveling west away from the orchard where they lived before a train derailed and the family orchard came under siege by rebels. Gloria is a devoted guardian to Koumaïl and she is determined to make it to France where Koumaïl can find his true mother. The stops on their way are g ...more
Bobby Simic
Koumail is a refugee from the Republic of Georgia who moves from troubled area to troubled area in the hopes of reaching the safe haven of France, which he is led to believe, by his caretaker, is his true birthplace.

Not exactly the most ideal read for summer, which is what my main problem was while reading this. During the summer, I crave nearly empty reads full of C-list celebrities, authors with amusing anecdotes about their drinking problem, and other silly, inane topics.

But despite the seas
A Time of Miracles is such a great story that I would compare it to any other tale that involves great sorrow and loss.
Where is this story taking place? This story started in Republic of Georgia which is right underneath Russia and above Turkey.

What would result if Gloria and Blaise stayed in Georgia? I would have to guess that they would have been taken by the soldiers and then the truth about Georgia and Blaise would have been found out much sooner.

What is the theme of the book? The theme I
Is there a difference between a lie and a made-up story?

This is a sad, hopeful story of a young boy and the woman who saves his life, refugees from the war in the Caucasus as they try to make their way towards safety. There's a helpful map at the front of the book, but don't look too carefully at the details of Koumaïl's journey or it'll spoil the story a bit. Just look at the geography if you don't know it.

Good for young adults and regular adults.
Franki Ross
I thought it was an okay book. It was kind of hard to keep my interest in it. It was definitely not one of those books that I cant put down because it was so good. I think it would be a good book though to incorporate in the classroom if you are discussing the 1990's or the Soviet Union.
Leah Beecher
A YA and therefore quick read; but a good and surprising quick read. Poignant writing, a tender coming of age story that is way quicker and less depressing than The Book Thief (that I think I gave 5 stars, but just saying). The story of a boy who only has a romantic tragic story to link him to his past. A displaced refugee in the Easter European country of Georgia trying with to make it to France: "a country of freedom and independence where you can be anything you want and people will leave you ...more
There once was a book of some length
That if you had not so much strength
To wade through it all,
You could make the cool call
To skim scan skip flip, skirting paingth.

A Time of Miracles, by Anne-Laure Bondoux is a realistic fiction book about a boys life and how he was brought to where he stands by a series of unimaginable miracles. I really liked the book and would give 5 stars because of the way that it is written and the amazing way that his story proceeds. The first thing that I remember when I think of the title is a baby boy in the middle of a fiery train wreck being shielded from it by the arms and chest of his paralyzed mother. But backing up before t

"A Time of Miracles" is about the adventures of Gloria and Koumail. It starts in Caucasus, then Europe, and finally ends in France. Koumail is Gloria's true son but she changes the story because the real father of Koumail is Zemzem, who is a terorist. The book starts in a place called "The Complex" which is where refugees take shelter. When the militia make a sweep of the area Gloria and Koumail make a run for it, like all the other refugees. They end up in a town called Souma-Soula. To earn mon ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Caren rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
This book is the 2011 Batchelder Award winner (for a children's book translated into English and then published in the USA). Very few foreign books are translated for our children's book market, so those that appear are usually pretty special. This book concerns a bit of recent history about which I don't recall reading anything in the news. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, there was a lot of upheaval in the small ethnic regions that were once part of the USSR. The autho ...more
This was a relatively fast read that packed quite an emotional punch. It is the story of 7 year old Koumail and his dear guardian Gloria as they begin a 5 year trek across Europe. They are war refugees from the collapsing, war-torn Soviet Union seeking safety in France in the early 1990's. Each night on their long, dangerous journey Koumail asks to hear the story of how he came to live with Gloria - the story of the Terrible Train Accident that occurred when he was just a baby and resulted in hi ...more
"There's nothing wrong with making up stories to make life more bearable." -A Time of Miracles, by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Koumaïl's story, as he knows it from Gloria, begins with the Terrible Accident. Gloria is picking peaches in the Republic of Georgia (as opposed to picking peaches in the southern US state of Georgia) when she hears an earsplitting noise, like an explosion. Koumaïl has heard this story so many times, and always in the right order. It begins like this: there's a train wreck just pa
Margaret Janavicius
“I never lie, Mr. Blaise. I may embellish things a little from time to time, that’s all … There’s nothing wrong with making up stories to make life more bearable.” Throughout Blaise’s life, his guardian Gloria retells the story of how she rescued him from a derailed train near her family’s orchard in the Republic of Georgia. According to the story, Blaise’s injured mother gave Gloria her infant son along with their French passports. Renaming him Koumail, Gloria has cared for him ever since. Thou ...more
Pamela Hubbard
Koumail, (or his French name Blaise) tells this story of how his guardian, Gloria, and him journey westward from the Republic of Georgia all the way to France over a period of five years. This journey brings many hardships, heartbreak and adventure as they escape the war and try to find safety. Koumail has always been told that he was rescued from a derailed train by Gloria and that he is a French citizen. As their journey moves forward and as Blaise reaches his destination and grows up, he lear ...more
This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.

Koumail knows exactly who he is: Blaise Fortune, undisputable and abandoned-through-a-train-accident French boy. Even as the seven-year-old flees the collapsing Soviet Union with Gloria, his beloved mother figure, Koumail knows that there will always be a safe haven for the faux mother-son duo in France. It turns out to be a journey fraught with hard work and starvation, doubt and heartbreak. Through it all, Koumail merely has to recite on
There was a woman picking peaches in her father's orchard when a train derailed. This woman, Gloria, heard a woman's cries coming from inside a train. The women was French and told Gloria to take her baby Blaise Fortune and gave Gloria their passports. Gloria has raised Blaise as her own, and has given him a proper name of Koumaïl. When Koumaïl turns seven the Caucasus becomes a war filled place and Gloria decides they must flee west to Europe. The traveling spans across five years, with stays h ...more
April Helms
A beautiful story. Blaise Fortune grows up with a woman, Gloria, in the Republic of Georgia in the 1990s, when several former Soviet countries were declaring their independence. Blaise and Gloria subside by begging and living off their wits, but the residents of the Complex, at least for a while, form a tight-knit community which even includes a schooling system. Blaise's favorite thing is to listen to Gloria's story on how he was found on a train that had derailed nearby and how Gloria found hi ...more
Blaise Fortune has spent his childhood on the run. He lives with Gloria the kind woman who found him as a baby in the Republic of Georgia. Gloria often tells Blaise the story of how she saved him after hearing a terrible train accident in her family's orchard and how Blaise's mother, a Frenchwoman, asked her to care for him.

As Blaise grows up, things begin to crumble and the Soviet Union collapses. Unsure of why they always seem to be living on the edge, Blaise recounts how he and Gloria live on
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Koumail recounts his childhood journey as a refugee fleeing across war-torn Russia with a woman named Gloria who is the only mother he remembers. It is at once a heart-breaking and heart-warming read as you follow the relentless poverty, hunger, cold and loss through the eyes of a young boy. Gloria tells Koumail the story of his origins over and over through the book, of his French mother whom she believes waits for them across the distant border, of freedom and better days awaiting them. Koumai ...more
Der zwanzigjährige Blaise Fortune lebt seit seinem zwölften Lebensjahr in Frankreich. Er erzählt rückblickend von seinem Heranwachsen in den Kriegswirren des Kaukasus von einer Kindheit in der er noch Koumaïl genannt wurde und Frankreich, das Land in dem er nun dank seines französischen Passes lebt, ein weit entfernter Traum von Freiheit, Gleichheit und Brüderlichkeit war.

Am stärksten verbindet er mit seiner ersten Heimat die Erinnerung an seine Ziehmutter Gloria Bohéme, die fü
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Anne-Laure Bondoux has received numerous literary prizes in her native France. Among her previous books published by Delacorte Press is The Killer’s Tears, which received the prestigious Prix Sorcières in France and was a Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book in the United States.
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