Author: Melissa Flemming
Best For: Upper middle grades and up
My Take: I felt myself attached to the characters in this book, especially the main character, Doaa, who is living proof of the crises that is ongoing in Syria.
The story begins by discussing what Syria was like before turmoil broke out. I appreciated this bit of history, as it is often what is left out of current news reports. Despite their efforts to stay (and Doaa’s to join the resistance), Doaa’s father moved the family to Egypt, where they were welcomed by the Egyptian people.
However, the welcome did not last. Eventually, Doaa and her fiance decided to make the treacherous journey to Europe. Even after several unsuccessful attempts, they still persisted until finally, they were on a boat to freedom.
That is, until pirates attack the boat, leaving nearly everyone on board helpless in the middle of the sea. This is where Doaa’s story comes alive, as her hope, strength and courage leave readers in awe.
I love this book in that it is real. The refugee crisis is something a lot of people hear about on the news, but to read a true account of what a teenager went through, just for a slice of freedom, is not only enthralling, but appalling. It leaves readers with so many questions, like, “Why isn’t there more help for refugees who just want a safe place to dwell? How can we help?”
Bottom Line: Share Doaa’s story with students; cultivate empathy and awareness; do something.
*While Doaa’s story is only one of many, there are numerous lesson plans that teach students about the refugee crisis. One of my goals in the future is a unit on refugee stories. Below are some resources. Please share yours in the comments!