Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Realistic contemporary fiction
What did you like about the book? There have been quite a few books written recently on the plight of immigrants/refugees fleeing persecution, poverty, death in Mexico, Central and South America but this story is about displaced Syrians forced to evacuate to Beirut, Lebanon when war has destroyed their homes in Syria. Thirteen-year-old Hadi has been selling Chiclets gum on a street in Beirut since he was eleven. His father does the same in a different part of the city. This is the only money they have to support themselves and a family of seven others who live in a one room apartment. Hadi’s mother has an abscessed tooth that has been causing her extreme pain for weeks but they have no money for a dentist.
When another boy, Malek, shows up to sell in the same street as Hadi, he is forced to go to the other side of the street where he becomes involved with drug dealers. The extra money will help his mother – and his family. But working with criminals generally does not bode well as it does not for Hadi. When Hadi is attacked, he and his entire family are forced to flee – but where can they go?
This realistic look at what life is like for refugees in Lebanon was written by Dean Hughes who, with his wife, taught English in Beirut to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Anything you did not like about the book? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend this one 4th– 8th graders wishing to learn more about the plight of refugees around the world.
Who should buy this book? Public, Middle school and high school libraries
Where would you shelve it? YA fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Very near.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: 12/23/2020