Author – Zana Fraillon
Age – 13+
The refugee camp is all that Subhi has ever known. Born there 9 years before, he has lived in tents with his Mum and sister Queeny ever since. He has grown up, taught to read by Queeny, taught the power of story and imagination by his Mum and policed by the ‘Jackets’ (soldiers), learning the way of the camp with help from his elder friend Eli.
One day Subhi meets a young girl called Billie. He can’t believe she is from ‘the outside’. She has found a gap in the fence and crawled under it. She has lost her mum, her dad is always working and her older brother slack in his care of her. She has her mother’s stories in a book but can’t read. But Subhi can, and they find a place away from the camp cameras and he reads to her while they sip hot chocolate and eat treats that Billie has brought.
Subhi’s reading makes Billie feel closer to her dead mum and they become good friends.
But change is coming. Queeny grows angrier by the day, his mother sleeps more and eats less every day and the camp is becoming restless.
Suddenly Billie’s life is in danger, the camp’s restlessness explodes and Subhi’s world is tipped upside down. But he can make a difference. He can tell people what he saw.
Due to a violent scene in this novel I think it’s best for 13+
This is a story of imagination, friendship, poverty, control and prejudice. Subhi’s and Jimmie’s story’s are told in separate chapters. Subhi – 1st person and Jimmie -3rd person, making this novel a wonderful tool to learn the dynamics of different points of view.
(Refugee, Friendship, Family, Hope, Story, Imagination, Prejudice, Hate)