Recommended by Alice Visser (@AVisserFuray)
Form and genre: Prose, contemporary fiction linked to refugee experience (refugees from Syrian civil war)
Length: 278 pages
Summary: This gripping and empathetic story about 13 year old Sami, a middle-class Syrian boy whose life is uprooted by civil war, challenges stereotypes. It describes normal life in Damascus, the harrowing journey Sami and his family make, and the traumas of refugee life in the UK.
Age recommendation and challenging content: Describes the refugee experience with some violence and also racist comments. Would recommend for Y7.
Notable reasons for recommending this book: Part of the role of literature is to get students to think outside their own lived experiences and walk in another person’s shoes. This well-research book by a Muslim author will give students insight into the refugee experience, breaking stereotypes and developing empathy. Great for context & the British setting in the latter part of the novel is useful as it isn’t just an ‘over there’ problem.
Other useful information: This would be a fabulous ‘read aloud’ story in a thematic unit about stereotypes, the refugee experience, tolerance/discrimination, courage/resilience or journeys. Reading/studying it could lead to excellent class discussions about tough issues.