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Author: Gratz, Alan
Publisher: Scholastic
Year Published: 2017
ISBN: 9780545880831
Grades: Grades 7 to 12

Refugee

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Acclaimed author Alan Gratz has skillfully researched and interwoven three historical events, separated by decades and continents, in this timely and extremely relevant book for young adults. Short chapters alternate between the three protagonists – Josef, a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany fleeing to Cuba with his family; Isabel and her extended family and friends departing from Castro’s Cuba to sail to America in 1994; and Mahmoud and his family seeking refuge in Germany, travelling from war-torn Syria in 2015. Each of the teenager’s stories is intense with desperation and heart-wrenching sacrifice as suspense builds and the struggles faced by refugees fleeing their home countries for a better future are brought to life. A detailed Author’s Note discusses the real events that inspired these dramatic stories which show a historical pattern of countries denying sanctuary. Mature readers may find this book emotionally challenging as they become invested in the resilient and courageous characters and their amazing experiences that tie together at the conclusion of this powerful novel.

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