Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dance of the Banished” as Want to Read:
Dance of the Banished
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dance of the Banished

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Ali and his fiancée Zeynep dream about leaving their home in Anatolia and building a new life together in Canada. But their homeland is controlled by the Turkish government, which is on the brink of war with Britain and Russia. And although Ali finds passage to Canada to work, he is forced to leave Zeynep behind until he can earn enough to bring her out to join him.

When th
Paperback, First, 288 pages
Published August 22nd 2014 by Pajama Press Inc.
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dance of the Banished, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dance of the Banished

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Rachel Seigel
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really appreciate historical fiction that informs me about an episode in history that isn't commonly discussed, and makes me want to know more about the period being written about. This book does both. I was equally horrified and inspired by the terrors that these people faced, and the courage they showed in their determination to survive. Definitely a grade 7 and up level title, but highly recommended.
Sep 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Based on true events in Anatolia and Canada in 1914, during the breakout of World War I, we follow Ali and Zeynep as they write journals to each other, when Ali moves to Canada to secure a better life for them. It is a love story filled with tragedy when Ali is forced into a Canadian internment camp, and Zeynep faces horrors and suffering when the Ottoman Army marches through village after village leaving behind destruction and death. This inspiring book will appeal and enlighten readers ages 12 ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book in one sitting, on a beautiful sunny day, in a place where I am free and privileged to lead the life I do. Once again, Skrypuch takes the reader into the heart, mind, and soul of the characters. An emotional read, this book will force to you think about the atrocities inflicted on so many of the past and the present. And it will cause you to question our humanity as beings who inhabit the earth. Are we always doomed to repeat the errors of past generations? Will we ever grow pas ...more
Circumstances tear two Alevi Kurds, Ali and his fiancée Zeynep, apart as he leaves his Anatolian home for a better life in Canada. Furious that he is leaving without her, Zeynep vows not to wait for him. Instead, she writes in her journal, recording the events of her daily life, her feelings, and later, after she leaves the village, the things she sees as turmoil fills the countryside. Seeking refuge with missionaries, she watches as many Armenians are rounded up and killed, and then many of her ...more
Valerie Sherrard
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dance of the Banished is an ambitious work that creates two very different worlds and sets of experience and weaves them together through the bond of love between two young people. Anatolian teen Ali leaves his young sweetheart Zeynep behind in his quest for a new life in Canada - a life he hopes they will one day share. But things do not go well when war errupts and suspicion falls on the young immigrant. Meanwhile, Zeynep struggles to survive and keep hope alive in a land torn by revolution an ...more
Devera Chandler
4.5 stars
Great historical fiction book set place during WWI. The stories involved are with Armenia, Turkey, Russia, and the Alevi Kurds. I am not a history buff, but the details of the book want me to find out more about this particular part of the war and find out more about the persecution of so many people. In addition, the book is a "love story" but not in an ooey gooey kind of way - more so, it's the type of love story of how truly against all odds, love can still win out. Great book that I
Edward Sullivan
A fascinating and completely engrossing work of historical fiction touching upon the Armenian Genocide, Canadian history, the Ottoman Empire and World War I, a small ancient religion in Anatolia, and more!
Kate Blair
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully researched, moving tale about the Armenian genocide from the unique point of view of Alevi Kurds on either side of the Atlantic - under threat at home and interned in Canada. Bringing to light a little-known part of history with a strong story.
Tanya Mykytiuk
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Beautifully written account of the Armenian genocide told through the eyes of a young Alevi Kurd woman, and contrasted with her fiancé's experiences in a Canadian internment camp. I couldn't put it down.... turning page after page, eager to know how and if they would be re-united.
I have learned so much by reading this book, both about the Armenian genocide of 1.5 million people in Turkey during the First World War (which is still officially being denied by the Turkish government), and about internment camps in our own country of Canada during that same war. The young couple in this book both endure hardship while being separated and dreaming of a new life in Canada. Very moving and also shocking.
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Confession: When I first got the e-mail asking if I wanted to review Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch I misread the title as Dance of the Banshee. So I immediately said I would review it because I have a thing for banshee stories (all things Celtic/Gaelic really, hence the names of my children). I wasn’t even sure if I was ready to start accepting books to review yet but I thought banshees would be a good reason to start.

So imagine my surprise when I actually took the time to rea
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A historical fiction that covers some of the less known aspects of the World War I era: (1) Turkey or the Ottoman Empire, (2) Alevi Kurds (a very old and very tolerant religion) as distinct from Turks and Armenians, (3) the internment of people from countries at war with Canada. While many Americans are familiar with the concentration of Japanese immigrants and even Japanese-American citizens during World War II, fewer of us may know about similar “precautions” being taken with people from Anato ...more
Ann Valdez
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
DANCE OF THE BANISHED is historical fiction which relates a sparsely taught history of Anatolia in the era of World War I. At his mother’s urging, Ali leaves his fiancée Zeynap to escape the war and the Turkish government and to go to Canada. He tells Zeynap he will send for her when he has enough money, but she has seen what happens in other couples and says she will not wait. Thus, they begin their journaling to each other – even though the other never receives it.
Ali works in Canada and sav
At the core, this is a love story about two enslaved peopled by different countries as victims of war. I always love reading stories about history, especially war. This book is an excellent book because it talks about what happened during WWI with some countries that you might not have learned were involved. I never knew the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany or that Canada sided with Russia. The map on the inside flap shows how far some of these people were forced to travel and how dangerous it ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
For full review please go to:, Twitter @camartinez and Facebook "5 Girls Book Reviews"

REVIEW BY: Michaela, age 11 years, 5 months


This was a really good book! It is like a little history lesson, but a fun and exciting one.

This book is thrilling with excitement and sadness. My favorite part is at the very end when they get married because they went through so much and they finally made it to each other's loving arms, it reminds me of my mom and d
Lis Ann - The Indigo Quill
This book is based on a true story, and covers the not well known aspects of WWI. The stories this book involved were from Turkey, Armenia, Russia, and the Alevi Kurds. This has romance notes in it, but it’s not over the top. It really takes the reader into the heart, mind, and soul of the characters.

I loved this book because it covered a point in history that isn’t commonly discussed. It’s a very emotional and fascinating story, but the characters were hard to identify with until very late in
Gabriele Goldstone
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I like how this author brings life to history and makes the reader realize it was real people like you and me who had unimaginably difficult lives. Skrypuch does the imagining for us. It's obvious that a lot of research lies behind the words and makes the story jump off the page and into our hearts. I appreciated the maps in the book and referred to them throughout my reading.I like reading a book where I escape, yes, but also learn something.
Paula Hollohan
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A part of Canadian and Armenian history that I know nothing about. Dance of the Banished is a great dual journal/dual character way to present both situations from a personal point of view. I cared about the characters and got a hint about this dark time for a people that I didn't even know about - the Alevi Kurds of Anatolia. It can be read and related to current events in a middle school setting.
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Enter the world of Alevi Kurds during WWI through the journals of Zeynep and Ali. They are young and betrothed yet Ali is sent to Canada by his mother to escape the coming war. Zeynep stays behind and becomes a witness to the genocide of her people. Their combined voices cry out that our freedoms are not as secure as we think, that atrocities can happen even in Canada.
Golden Secondary School
Sep 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This award winning book is perfect for fans of historical or political fiction. It is a fairly easy read and has a romantic undertone that keeps the story moving forward.

Recommended for history buffs or those looking for an easy-to-read, interesting story.
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very powerful novel though not quite sure it is a book for teens - very readable and fascinating history!
An interesting and quick fictional history of the Armenian genocide of WWI and the Canadian internment camp.

The author uses two star-crossed lovers in order to detail the affects of the war in Anatolia (Turkey) and Ontario, Canada, alluding to the great effects of war in many ways.

While the book is educational, it is far too succinct and reads quite monotonously. I am giving it a higher rating because it is representative of real people, their real experiences, and this should not be discounte
3.5 stars, good for the history but I didn't identify enough with the characters until very late into the book
Mar 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Surprisingly good read--a part of history I knew nothing of, discovered an ethno-religious group I also didn't know existed. Marsha tells a good story while letting us know about all this. I thought some of the stuff was just a wee bit hokey, like wondering whether the young lovers will ever dance the traditional dance again, etc. But some of it, like how a mature Zeyneb comes to understand and value traditions and attitudes she once scoffed at, are really good.
Nancy Colello
May 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting book. I did not know much about the Alevy population and it was set at a time of great turmoil with WW I issues. I was unaware of the close relationship with the Armenian community despite the lack of common religion. The Alevy people practice a form of Islam that incorporates some mystic teachings. Overall, a good read but not great literature.
rated it liked it
May 03, 2017
Cheriee Weichel
rated it it was amazing
Dec 09, 2014
Erin Olson
rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2018
rated it really liked it
Aug 25, 2017
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Marsha has received numerous awards and honours for her picture books and young adult novels, including a nomination for the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year in 2007. Marsha has penned the bestselling Dear Canada book, Prisoners in the Promised Land.

In 2008, Marsha was awarded the Order of Princess Olha by the Ukranian President, in recognition of her story, Enough, which described th