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This heart-wrencher of a tale chronicles three separate journeys of children experiencing what none should have to: fleeing a home that is no longer safe. We meet Josef, a Jewish boy leaving Germany in 1939 as he boards the ill-fated ocean liner St. Louis; Isabelle, who, along with her family, flees Cuba as a 1994 rafter; and Mahmoud, who departs Aleppo in 2015, bound for (bringing us full circle) Germany. The stories, unfolding in alternating points of view, are benchmarked at the start of each chapter with a subhead: xx days from home, demonstrating that from a kids' vantage point, home - or lack of - is the only landmark that really matters.
The three accounts really took me into the heart of these historical moments in a way that news reports rarely do, each depicting a unique version of desperation, tragedy, and longing. But while I was on the edge-of-my-seat throughout, the ultimate conclusion is one of hope - that the sins of our collective past do in fact have the power to positively impact the choices we make in the future.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful
Wonderfully read by three different actors, the individual stories of the plight of three refugee families in different decades is so compelling and actually really important--especially for children. The intensity of many of the horrific experiences of these people may be too much for some young people, but if they could deal with The Hunger Games, they would be ok with this. The historical accuracy was done well and the characters were compelling. The author packs in a great deal within a short book and it serves as an important statement about compassion in understanding the refugee experience.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful