Saturday, March 2, 2019

Award Winner Review: The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown

Title: The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees
Author: Don Brown
Year Published: 2018


Genre: YA nonfiction (graphic "novel")
Pages: 93
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, and Germany.

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Syria, 2011: Teenage boys graffiti "Down with the regime" on a wall. This small act is just one of the many sparks that ignite a revolution to overthrow the tyrannical rule of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. But Assad and his supporters are ruthless: imprisonment, torture, and devastating massacres tear the country apart. Refugees begin to flee Syria in staggering numbers. The unexpected flood of victims overwhelms neighboring countries. Desperate refugees escape to Europe. Chaos reigns. Resentment heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grow. By 2017, the war rages on and many nations want to close their borders and turn their back on the victims.

The refugees are the unwanted.

Review: This graphic "novel" won the ALA's award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults so I am reading it to count for that challenge, but also because I am interested in the topic. I feel like I've read quite a few books based in Syria recently: Rolling Blackouts by Sarah Glidden; Escape from Aleppo by NH Senzai; The Moment Before by Jason Makansi; A Hope More Powerful than the Sea by Melissa Fleming; Refugee by Alan Gatz; and Escape from Syria by Samya Kullab.

This book is definitely a wonderful addition to this list of books. I like that Brown has factual information interspersed with quotes from refugees that come as speech bubbles in the drawings. It flows well and brings a personal touch to the narrative. The illustrations are jagged, also giving a sense of the difficult lives of the refugees.

As the author states in his Afterword, he limited the information in the book to refugee information and not political or religious. In that way the book is short with just 93 pages, but really packs a punch about the refugee experience only.

I can see why this book won the nonfiction award for 2018; it is interesting, important, and very well done.


Challenges for which this counts: 
 

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