Gervelie's Journey (Refugee Diary) ISBN: 9781845076528
Published by Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, 2008
An intensely moving diary of Gervelie's and her father's journey from the Republic of Congo, to the Ivory Coast, to Ghana, and, finally, to England. Along the way she suffers huge hardships - her mother's leaving the family to remarry a violent man who beats Gervelie when she lives with them for a year, having to leave her baby sister when her grandmother takes her to the Ivory Coast to live, the murder of her grandfather, the flight with her father to Europe and then to England, where they arrive using false papers and ask for asylum, the difficulties of convincing the immigration authorities of their genuiness, the kindnesses of the Refugee Council and their ultimate ending up in Norwich. They still have not been given permanent asylum five years on, but Gervelie has settled well and has much to look forward to. In spite of her difficult life, she is positive and cheerful, and we see photos of a happy and adjusted young teenager. There are soft-focus illustrations as well as photos, and the book includes a map and two pages of facts about the Republic of Congo and its recent history. Superbly produced.