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In different generations, from different countries, with different stories, three young refugees embark on a life-risking journey with their family in the novel Refugee by Alan Gratz, fleeing their hometowns in search for a new life of freedom, peace, and happiness.
Josef was a Jewish boy living in Germany in the 1930s. Already grief-stricken that his father was sent by German soldiers to concentration camps, his mother and little sister were depending on him to lead and guide them to survival. They reluctantly boarded a ship and headed towards the land with liberty on the opposite side of the earth.
Isabel was a Cuban girl living in the year 1994. With the unapproved (by the nation’s citizens) choices made by her country’s leader, uproars and rebellions brings Cuba into turmoil and mayhem. Isabel and her family began the journey of miles of endless ocean and waves on a handmade boat to escape their rampageous community. They encountered various obstacles on their trek, from flesh-eating sharks to destructive storms.
Mahmoud was a Syrian boy living in the year 2015. Mahmoud and his family were forced to abandon their home when a bomb destroys their dwelling. Along with many other Syrians in the same situation as them, they faced countless challenges on the road heading to Europe.
Even though they all came across many near-death circumstances, they all carried hope and motivation in their hearts to lead a life they wanted to live. They all suffered many losses and tragedies, but they never let misfortune get to them. This is a heartbreaking book about immigration and the adversities that this world still has.
Refugee by Alan Gratz, Scholastic Press, 352 pp.
Age Range: 9 and 12
Grade Level: 4-7