(Middle-Grade Reading Level - Real-life depiction of the refugee experience - there is death, desperation, and peril)
This book is extremely popular with middle school teachers, and after taking time to read it myself, I'd have to agree. Instead of writing a traditional review, I thought I'd write a list of 5 reasons why this book is a great resource.
1. Gratz chose three stories that showcase disparate religions and cultures. In each case, he makes realistic connections between religious practice and daily life.
2. Each story demonstrates how unfortunately easy it is for people to divide themselves into groups without real cause.
3. The story of the Syrian refugee, Mahmoud, stands out because of its recency. Mahmoud's life deteriorates so quickly and allows students to see that the dividing line between a middle-class life and refugee status is actually quite fragile.
4. Gratz writes for middle schoolers. Each character portrayed a story that students can connect to despite the differences in culture or time.
5. Gratz ties the three stories together at the end to showcase the humanity of every refugee.
There is no doubt that this should be included in every classroom library. Also considering utilizing this book as a class read-aloud, or for a full class read.