Behind the Book
The Story Behind Panic by Sharon M. Draper
Several years ago I read an article about two girls, ages 14 and 15, who were abducted from a mall by a man who promised them jobs in the modeling profession. They got into his car voluntarily, thinking probably of being proud of making a sound, adult career decision. It was six months before they were able to escape their captor. Teen abductions in this country often are not reported because it is assumed that the teen simply ran away. Look at any missing teen website and you’ll see the faces of young people who are yearning to be found.
And although most of us think of Peter Pan as a delightful children’s tale, it is really a harsh story of someone who sneaks into a bedroom at night and steals three children! It’s an abduction worthy of an Amber Alert. So in Panic, I used Peter Pan as the backdrop as students in a dance academy prepare for a performance of it. Dance and music swirl throughout the novel as colorful decorations. They help the characters express complicated feelings while they work through the demons in their lives. When they dance, they are more than the pieces of their lives—they are whole.