Reviewed by: Beth Fairchild, WATG appointed member
As we approach summer, I get many requests for recommendations for summer reading lists. One I recommend to both teachers and students is Refugee by Alan Gratz. This young adult book chronicles the harrowing journey of three different kids from three different time periods with one mission in common: ESCAPE.
First, Josef is a Jewish boy living in the 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world. Next, you meet Isabel, a Cuban in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America. Finally, Mahmoud is introduced. He is a boy from Syria in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe.
All three kids will face unimaginable dangers--from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together at the end.
This action-packed story tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home. Students and teachers alike will enjoy reading this book.
Extension/enrichment ideas: 1) Research areas of our country and world for similarities to these characters. After researching, write additional chapters that include trials and tribulations of current immigrant stories. 2) Research areas of our country and world for similarities to these characters. Create a fundraiser to help support immigrants. 3) Research areas of our country and world for similarities to these characters. Write to congressman to advocate for change in laws and programs to support immigrants. 4) Research areas of our country and world for similarities to these characters. Create a video to be shared on social media that can promote ways to help immigrants of today.