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Author: Walter, John
Publisher: Scholastic
Year Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780545816625
Grades: Grades 7 to 9

Close to the Wind

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“Mama has asked Papa to come and collect Malik from the house. She had hidden him in the wardrobe to keep him safe til Papa got there.”
Malik, separated from his mother during a war, is a young war refugee who attempts to flee his country on the Samaritan ship, with the help of his Papa (grandfather).  Malik inquisitiveness and incessant questions can not prepare him for what he is about to experience.  Placed in a nebulous country, Malik and his grandfather try to escape their war torn country with great financial, physical, emotional and human cost. This story has a feel of mid 20th century but could be as recent as today’s news about refugees, both in its description and book jacket artwork.  Malik grows from what seems like an overly innocent child for a ten-year-old to a young man who lives by his wits and tricks, which his grandfather has taught him. This is a story about sacrifice, survival and hope in the face of war and trauma.  One of the scenes played out with his grandfather is graphically violent in description, making this a book most suitable for junior high students or above.   Readers are left with a plausible ending, but will also leave readers with unanswered questions.  
Suitable for junior high students or as a read-aloud with refugees to help them begin to heal and hope for their future.

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