by Alan Gratz
Refugee tells the story of three different children from three different countries and time periods. But they all have something major in common-their families are no longer safe at home and need to escape and find a new place to live. It is 1939, and Joseph is a Jew living in Nazi Germany. His father is sent to a concentration camp, and when he is released, his family decides to escape to Cuba, one of the last countries that is accepting Jewish refugees. It is 1994, and Isabel is living in Cuba. Her father is in trouble with the government for protesting, and they must escape to Miami. It is 2015, and Mahmoud is a Muslim boy living in Syria whose home is bombed. His family decides to move to Germany.
Each family’s story is based on real historical events. Joseph travels on the infamous cruise ship, the St. Louis. Isabel travels by a homemade boat. Mahmoud travels by sea, car, and foot to get to Europe. Everyone has a dangerous trip and risks their lives to move their families to safety. Everyone has significant losses on their journey.
Refugee is a thought-provoking book, and should be read by older elementary students and teens that are ready to deal with some difficult subjects. It would also be a good book for adult book clubs that are looking for a teen book to read-Refugee would definitely encourage an interesting discussion.
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan