Welcome to Nowhere
by Elizabeth Laird
Shortlisted Little Rebels Award 2018
Widely praised as Laird's finest work to date, this novel tells the story of 12-year-old, budding entrepreneur, Omar, his smart and politicised older brother, Musa (who also has cerebral palsy)- and their family's flight from war-torn Syria as they make the difficult journey from Basra to Daraa, then to a Jordanian refugee camp, with the novel ending just as the family are about to embark for the UK. There is simply too much substance, thought and beauty to this narrative to condense here! The wonderful characterisations, the respect and sensitivity for the different Middle Eastern landscapes Laird takes her readers across, the heart-breaking decisions faced by those whose lives are at risk, the brilliant, deft touch at the book's conclusion of getting young readers to think about how and whether the UK will welcome and receive Omar and him family... The novel's final sentence reads, "The answer to these questions lies with you". Based on research undertaken by this well-travelled, award-winning, author (esp. in the Middle East) at two refugee camps in Jordan, this is a passionate and thoughtful plea to see refugees as people whose lives are more similar to ours than we might perhaps think. Age 10+, Hardback 336pp
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