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Contributor(s): Gratz, Alan

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ISBN: 0545880831     ISBN-13: 9780545880831
Publisher: Scholastic Pr
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Binding Type: Hardcover
Published: July 2017

Annotation: Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Refugees; Fiction.
Emigration and immigration; Fiction.
Survival; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure | Survival Stories
- Juvenile Fiction | Historical | Military & Wars
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Emigration & Immigration
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2017017544
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.75" H x 6.25" W x 1.25" (0.96 lbs) 338 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 190739
Reading Level: 5.3   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 10.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q71771
Reading Level: 5.3   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 17.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s):
Alan Gratz is the acclaimed author of several books for young readers, including Refugee; Projekt 1065, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016; Prisoner B-3087, a Junior Library Guild selection that was named to YALSA's 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list; Code of Honor, a YALSA 2016 Quick Pick; and The Brooklyn Nine, which was among Booklist's Top Ten Historical Books. Alan lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughter. Look for him online at alangratz.com.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Spring)
Gratz's stirring novel humanizes the plight of refugees worldwide. Alternating chapters follow fictional child refugees from three different eras and nations--Josef in 1939 Germany, Isabel in 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud in 2015 Syria--whose stories ultimately, and surprisingly, converge. The narrative keeps readers on edge throughout these perilous, wrenching journeys but allows for poetic turns during quieter moments of reflection. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2017 #6)
Gratz's stirring novel humanizes the plight of refugees worldwide. Told in alternating chapters, the book follows fictional child refugees from three different eras whose stories ultimately, and surprisingly, converge. In 1939 Josef and his family, who are Jewish, hope to escape Nazi Germany on the notorious MS St. Louis bound for Cuba. Fifty-plus years later, Isabel's family and their neighbors sail a homemade boat toward Miami away from riots and starvation in Havana. And in 2015 Mahmoud and his family flee war-torn Aleppo by foot, car, and raft to build a new life in Germany. Gratz doesn't downplay the trials that refugees endure, as discrimination, betrayal, death, and the elements themselves bar the way. The narrative keeps readers on edge throughout these perilous, wrenching journeys but allows for suitably poetic turns during quieter moments of reflection: "This trip, this odyssey, was pulling his family apart, stripping them away like leaves from the trees in the fall." An appended author's note details the true circumstances that inspired Gratz's story and includes organizations that help refugees today, reinforcing the novel's timely reminder of humanity's common ground and the need for kindness and charitable actions toward displaced persons. russell perry Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 May #4)

In this hard-hitting novel, Gratz (Projekt 1065) skillfully intertwines the stories of three protagonists seeking asylum with their respective families. Twelve-year-old Josef is fleeing Nazi Germany on a ship headed for Cuba in 1939; in 1994, 11-year-old Isabel leaves Cuba for the United States aboard a boat; and 12-year-old Mahmoud leaves Syria in 2015 after a bomb destroys his family's apartment building. Though set in different political landscapes, the harrowing narratives share a sense of urgency, danger, and sacrifice, and the brief chapters keep each story fresh in readers' minds. Each character confronts exceptional challenges: Josef must behave as the adult when his father returns shattered from a concentration camp, and Mahmoud realizes that the invisibility he cultivated in Aleppo is less of an asset in Greece ("They only see us when we do something they don't want us to do"). Filled with both tragic loss and ample evidence of resilience, these memorable and tightly plotted stories contextualize and give voice to current refugee crises, underscoring that these journeys are born out of a desperate need for security and safety. Ages 9–12. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (July)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 July)

Gr 5–7—Gratz presents three interrelated stories about surviving. The tales center on children and their families who are driven from their homes by war, violence, and unrest. Josef must leave Nazi-controlled Germany with his mother, his sister, and his mentally broken father (just returned to them from Auschwitz). He sails across the Atlantic Ocean on the ill-fated St. Louis only to be turned away from Cuba and returned to Europe. Isabel and her family live in Cuba and escape on a makeshift raft during the exodus in the 1990s. They flee the repression and poverty of Fidel Castro's rule. Mahmoud, a Syrian boy, and his family seek refuge from the ongoing war and violence in their home city of Aleppo. They board a dinghy in order to cross the Aegean sea from Turkey to Greece. All the entries share elements of hardship, fear, and trauma and stress the power of love, family, and incredible sacrifice. Gratz, who is known for well-written and well-researched historical fiction, doesn't disappoint. His latest is timely and moving. VERDICT This compelling novel will help young people make sense of today's refugee crisis. Meant to be read, discussed, and shared widely. A first purchase.—Patricia Feriano, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.
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