Sami loves his life in Damascus, Syria. He hangs out with his best friend playing video games; he's trying out for the football team; he adores his family and gets annoyed by them in equal measure. Bu
Sami loves his life in Damascus, Syria. He hangs out with his best friend playing video games; he's trying out for the football team; he adores his family and gets annoyed by them in equal measure. But his comfortable life gets sidetracked abruptly after a bombing in a nearby shopping mall. Knowing that the violence will only get worse, Sami's parents decide they must flee their home for the safety of the UK.
Boy, Everywhere chronicles their harrowing journey and struggle to settle in a new land. Forced to sell all their belongings and leave their friends and beloved grandmother behind, Sami and his family travel across the Middle East to Turkey, where they end up in a smuggler's den. From there, they cross the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean and manage to fly to England, only to be separated and detained in an immigration prison for the "crime" of seeking asylum. Yet the transition from refugee to immigrant in a new life will be the greatest challenge Sami has ever faced.
Based on the experiences of real Syrian refugees, this thoughtful middle-grade novel is the rare book to delve deeply into this years-long crisis. A. M. Dassu has used her publishing deal advances for Boy, Everywhere to assist Syrian refugees in her city and set up a grant to support an unpublished refugee/recently immigrated writer in the US. Sami's story is one of survival, of family and friendship, of bravery and longing ... Sami could be any one of us.
A Syrian refugee story that disrupts stereotypes while tugging at readers? heartstrings.
Sami is your average 13-year-old boy growing up in Damascus. He loves playing soccer and video games and hanging out with his friends. Even though the Syrian civil war has been going on for many years, Sami?s life has hardly changed?until the fateful day when his mother and sister are injured during a bombing at a shopping mall. Realizing they are no longer safe, Sami?s parents?a surgeon and a school principal?arrange to flee, seeking asylum in England. The journey is not an easy one, as Sami and his family face danger, intimidation, and discrimination as they try to reach England and rebuild their lives. Dassu carefully creates a story that embodies, through relatable and realistic characters, the spirit of Syrian refugees hoping to find safety and self-sufficiency. Descriptions of modern-day Damascus accurately blend tradition and modernity, religion and culture. The most compelling element is Sami?s voice as he struggles with not only becoming a refugee, but guilt over having asked his mother to go to the mall to pick up his soccer cleats on the day of the bombing. He authentically conveys the thoughts of a teenage boy trying to cope with anxiety and loss; likewise, the pride and hope of Syrian refugees are brought to life through Sami?s eyes.
Compelling, informative, hopeful.
Kirkus starred review
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Sami is an ordinary eighth-grader who loves playing football and PlayStation with his best friend. That will likely sound familiar to many readers of this novel, but there's a difference: Sami lives in Damascus, Syria, as it's plunging into civil war. Smoke billowing in the distance is embedded into everyday life, but it isn't until Sami's mom and young sister are almost killed that the danger hits home. With the war inching closer to their city, the al-Hafez family flee their comfortable life in Damascus to seek refuge in the UK?that is, if the journey doesn't break them first. This raw, heartbreaking middle-grade debut faces the Syrian refugee crisis head-on. Many will recall the horrifying images from the Syrian refugee crisis, from the dusty rubble of once-bustling cities to the drowned victims who washed up on the Turkish coast. Dassu knits those realities into the story of the al-Hafez family, giving voice to countless refugees who didn't want to leave their homeland but were left no choice.The pace is fast; the family goes from being well-off one moment to having no status the next. Seeking asylum, held in a detention center, experiencing homelessness?the blows are unabating, but they're nevertheless interspersed with small joys. This isn't an easy read, but it's an absolutely essential one.
Booklist starred review
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