Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh - ESSENTIAL

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh, 360 pages.  Roaring Brook Press, 2018.  $17.  

Content: Language: PG (1 swear); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13.  



Max is upset that his family is temporarily living in Brussels, Belgium.  He feels stupid at his new school, that speaks mostly French, and he feels out of place.  Ahmed is also new to living in Brussels as he is a Syrian refugee, who has recently lost his family.  When the doors to refugees are closed, Ahmed, who is only fourteen, doesn’t know what to do, so he finds a hidden cellar in Max’s apartment and begins to live there.  Eventually Max and Ahmed’s paths cross and they find true friendship.  

This book helps readers to see refugees as individuals and consider their backstory and needs.  I loved Max and Ahmed and felt that their friendship was realistic.  I also liked the comparison to hiding Jews during World War II.  The ending didn’t feel as realistic as the rest of the book, but overall it was a good read.  The only reason I wouldn’t put it in an elementary school is that there are references to Ahmed’s family being killed and of children’s bodies washing up on the shore after they drowned trying to escape Syria.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson

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