Azzi in Between ISBN: 9781847802613
Garland, Sarah
Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2013
This remarkably moving book is the story of Azzi, who is a refugee, from which country we do not know; nor do we know which country she has come to, although it is quite possibly Britain. Individual pictures laid out like comic strips, but with the text underneath, show us Azzi, her parents and her grandmother all living happily together even though there is a war in their country. Azzi's father is a doctor, her mother a seamstress, and the grandmother weaves blankets. When a phone call come one night, Father says they are in great danger and must leave immediately. Grandma stays to look after the house, but the other three travel by car to get to an overcrowded boat for refugees. Their journey is long and arduous, and they are in danger all the way. In the new country, the family must live in one room, and Father cannot work until they have a permit to stay. Azzi begins school, but is terribly lonely until she has a helper, Sabeen, a lady from her own country who has also been a refugee. Azzi begins to learn English, and Lucy becomes her friend. Always, though, Azzi misses her grandma terribly and worries about her. Finally, one day after school, mum tells her there is a surprise, and the surprise is grandma, who has had a terrible journey getting away from the old country, but has been able to join them at last. When father gets news that they can stay in the new country, they have hope of a good new life. The wonderfully evocative pictures show us many of Azzi's concerns that are not told in the text, and the dismal nature of the single room, her father's growing depression, and the very real danger of their journeys are shown much more completely by the illustrations than they can be by the text. This is a superb book, full of emotion and the reality of being forced to leave one's beloved homeland and adjust to a completely different way of life. Endorsed by Amnesty International UK, the book should be in every classroom in the country,
Age: 6+