Thirteen-year-old Ghalib wishes his life could go back to normal. He wishes he could still hang out at the market with his friends, root for his favorite soccer team, even go to school. But civil war has destroyed his home.
As violence rages around them, his family makes the difficult choice to flee Syria. Together they start out on a dangerous journey toward Europe. Along the way, they encounter closely guarded borders, hardscrabble refugee camps, and an ocean crossing that they may not survive.
The gripping story of one boy's journey to find refuge pays tribute to struggles millions of Syrians face in today's real-world crisis.
"A civil war has torn Syria apart between the government and extremists, and Ghalib recalls when the country was beautiful and vibrant with schools, libraries, and stores. Now he and his cousin loot in bombed-out areas. When a looting opportunity goes awry, Ghalib shows his bravery as he saves his cousin's life, even though they both suffer severe injuries. When a government army unit comes to Ghalib's house to recruit him and his family to serve in the war, his parents decide to uproot the family and find a better place to live. Taking what limited possessions they have, Ghalib begins a perilous journey, leaving his home country and making his way to Europe. Young readers will gain insight into the harrowing journey a refugee takes to make a better life for themselves. Mitchell takes on a sensitive topic with empathy and compassion, helping readers understand the hardships that refugees face and exploring the diversity of Syria through religion, language, and ethnicity. A great introduction into learning about a highly relevant humanitarian refugee crisis."—Booklist
Jane Mitchell is an award-winning author of books for children and young people. Her novel Chalkline was endorsed by Amnesty International Ireland for contributing to a better understanding of human rights. She lives in Ireland.