Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-22 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"As young people see news stories about refugees, especially from places like war-torn Syria, this book is an excellent nonfiction resource to help them understand what it must be like for kids their age to have to flee from their homes. This book shares details from interviews of five people who were forced to escape their countries under very dangerous circumstances to try to find someplace where they could live in peace. Often they wound up in refugee detention camps, where conditions weren't too much better than the countries they left. The text is appropriate for middle grade students and the illustrations, collage style pictures, are very poignant. " said.

"This is an extraordinary resource, compelling in content and useful as later reference. The introductory pages include a timeline of the "boat people" who have attempted escapes to make new homes in an area of North America that eventually became the United States. The chronology continues, beginning with 1930's Jewish refugees turned away from our shores, with each multi-page topic featuring specific history, geography, politics, and consequences.
Naturally, our current global refugee crisis is dealt with at the conclusion.
This is another of those remarkable picture books that can and should be read and discussed by readers of any age.
" said.

"Thank you Net Galley for the ARC to review.

A wonderful introduction to the topic of refugees. With different backgrounds and situations spanning early 20th century to pesent, a summary of young children's journeys are told. Sadly, the conditions for desperate refugees have not improved over time - each person was desperate enough to leave their homeland in an unsafe and inhumane manner, and each story was of hope for something better. The powerful mixed-media illustrations tell the story as much as the text. A great springboard to discuss empathy, tolerance, humanity, compassion, victims of war and hate, and immigration.
" said.

"In this book, 5 survivors' stories are told and how they made it by boat from a troubled country to a safe one. There are timelines, real pictures, and real historic events included.

I gave this book 5 stars because how in depth the research was over each story! This book was covered with sources from the stories and was laid out like newspaper clippings with the pictures, so that made it appealing for students to look at! The book was well written and well laid out for a nonfiction text! I was very interested in reading this book too!

I would use this book to teach a social studies lesson about what it is like to be a refugee. I would also tell my students to read it if they like these survivor stories. It includes so many details from the child's perspective, along with definitions and timelines, that the book can almost teach the students alone!
" said.

"'Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees' by Mary Beth Leatherdale with illustrations by Eleanor Shakespeare follows the stories of 5 young refugees on dangerous sea journeys.

The five journeys include a young lady fleeing the Nazis and sailing for Cuba, A 14-year old Vietnamese boy fleeing for life in the United States, and A young woman fleeing the Taliban for life in Australia. In all cases the journeys were complicated by things storms, overcrowded boats, or countries that wanted to turn them back. Each story tells what happened to the person.

The book ends with an timeline of refugees from World War II to the present. There is also a list of references of groups that work with refugees or have history about them.

It's aimed at younger readers and it's done very well. The seriousness of the peril is there without going into graphic details. Historical context is given as well as timelines. I really appreciated getting to read this book.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Annick Press Ltd. and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
" said.

"So, I requested this book from @netgalley because I am forever looking for stories about the refugee experience. This was in their children’s nonfiction category, Net Galley does not have a separate middle grade category. This book was not what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised. This tells the story of five different children refugees from different times and places. The stories are short and have a lot of graphics on the page with captions and definitions of unfamiliar words. Because of the many graphics and short narratives, this will be a very quick read. Although middle graders are probably not the target audience (think more upper elementary), I think this book would really appeal to some of them and maybe even lead to further reading/researching. If you are looking to purchase this book, I would recommend getting the print copy. Although it was beautiful on my iPad, my guess is having the illustrations in hand is ten times better! My interest is definitely piqued, because I know one area I want to focus on when I get into my LMC is the nonfiction, so I am on the
lookout for high interest nonfiction! Thanks to @netgalley for providing me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
" said.

" In the introduction of this book, the author writes "If you're reading this, you-like me- have probably won the lottery. Not the giant-check, instant-millionaire kind of lottery. The other lottery in- the really valuable one. That random, lucky break that means you were born-or immigrated to a relatively peaceful and prosperous place in the world. Along with all the other amazing things about you, that makes you pretty extraordinary." I think that is an important point that many kids might not have thought about much before.
Stormy Seas tells the story of 5 people who fled their countries on boats. Ruth is 18 when she flees from the Nazis in 1939 with the intention of arriving in Cuba. However, after 6 days in Havana Harbor, their boat is turned away and told to return to Europe. Ruth eventually ends up in England. Phu leaves his family and travels from Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. Thirteen year old Jose leaves the Castro regime in Cuba to come to the United States. Najeeba, 11 in 2000, escapes Afghanistan through Pakistan and India before arriving in Australia. Mohamed, a 13 year old orphan, arrives in Italy after fleeing the Ivory Coast, working in Guinea, Mali, and Algeria, being smuggled into Libya, then crossing the Mediterranean to Malta.

I thought this book was good. The art in the book is similar to what you see on the cover. I liked the collage aspect of it and liked that they showed the routes each child has traveled on a mapI liked that they told what happened to each person later in their life as well. The book also includes a brief history of people who had "come by boat" before these 5 as well as after these 5. The stories of each person were told in an appropriate manner for children. There were also a lot of subject specific vocabulary- like "refugee," "asylum," etc- that are defined for kids who might not have encountered these words in previous reading.

I am planning on recommending this book to our middle school librarian and the librarian at my son's school. This book is available from Annick Press.
" said.

"First of all, I love the images and graphics in this book. They are stunning and very powerful, as are the stories. As you can tell from the title, this is a book about children that are forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in other countries. Their stories are terrifying and heartbreaking, even if they all have "happy" endings. The horrors these defenseless children have to endure to find safety sometimes by themselves, sometimes with family and friends, is enough to make you want to weep. The book is a record of different refugees' stories about how they came to be where they are and the rough trials they had to overcome to get there. The author is very sensitive about the topic, but does not pull any punches or sugar coat the stories. One haunting story that thoroughly shocked me stated, "I was setting on deck talking with a friend when a man I know from Breslau came running out of the bathroom, his wrists dripping with blood, threw himself overboard into the harbor. A sailor jumped in to save him. But the man didn't want to be saved. When he was back on deck, the man was trying to pull his arteries out. He was in the concentration camp and would rather die than go back to Germany". I was surprised to see such a graphic and horrifying statement in a book made for children, but it served it's purpose well--it deeply disturbed me and made me want to do something about the predicament so many refugees fall victim to. I know this happened long ago, but it doesn't make it right, and as the book progresses, the author's point is clearly displayed without being overly aggressive in it's presentation: time has not eased any of the horrors or burdens placed on people running for their lives. These are people that are being taken advantage of when all they really need is a helping hand. There are several statistics and facts listed among the stories that really help to put all of the stories into perspective. You get to read one account and then see how many other people were affected or treated in the same manner. It's really an eye opening and heart wrenching read. " said.

June 2018 New Book:

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