In the Sea There are Crocodiles: The Story of Enaiatollah Akbari ISBN: 9780099555452
Published by Vintage Books, 2012
At ten years old, Enaiatollah Akbari, is taken by his mother from his village in Afghanistan over the border into Pakistan. There he is abandoned by her to make his way in life. This is done through love and concern over what his life will be if he stays with her, and Enaiat understands this while also being bereft. The rest of his complicated and very moving story covers the next eight years and his many and varied encounters with traffickers, with fellow refugees, with heat and cold and terrible conditions, with death and life and, ultimately, with kindness and hope. The conditions he often lived under are told with remarkable understatement, and it is hard to see how he survived the terrible things happening to him. Hard work and a certain amount of adventurous spirit carry him through, and when he finally makes it to Italy, where he is given asylum, we can only rejoice. A map of his journey, which included time in Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Greece, is helpful. It is difficult to understand how such a young child could survive, but survive he does triumphantly and in the end is back in touch with his mother and siblings in Afghanistan. This is a book which should be in every secondary school library and will provide very precise details about the kind of life that refugees often must experience. Hope in the human experience is necessary for us all, and Anaiat's story will bring hope to others who are experiencing only desperation.