Monday, August 28, 2017

Refugee gets 5 Stars {historical fiction, middle grade fiction}

Refugee by Alan Gratz gets 5 out of 5 stars book review.  Great upper middle grade historical fiction book 5th grade through 10th grade would enjoy and benefit from.  Inspire. Emotional. Great book. Great read aloud for teachers with many lesson ideas and discussions stemming from it.  Ideas on the blog post.  Refugees in Germany 1930s, Cuba 1994, and Syria 2015.  Books for boys and girls. Alohamora Open a Book. Alohamoraopenabook

Germany, Cuba, Syria aren't known for having too much in common.  Three different places.  Three different times. Three different families.  Refugee by Alan Gratz is the common denominator.  

Refugee gets 5 out of 5 stars in my book review of this upper middle grade (great choice for teens and adults as well) historical fiction.  This book is fantastic, powerful, emotional, inspiring, eye-opening, and a chance to change who you are and how you treat others. 

Refugee is well deserving of the 5 star rating.  It's a clean read (with some intense parts) and perfect for 5th grade through 10th grade.  However, all teens and adults could greatly benefit from and enjoy this read.   The chapters are short and perfect for short attention spans.  There's enough detail, but it isn't a super wordy read which is great for this targeted audience. All in all, the format and writing of the story is well done.      

Gratz intertwines three different characters, all refugees, from different time periods and different locations.  The connection between the three isn't as intertwined as other books I've read, like Echo.  Even though I was a tad confused at first and wasn't sure how these, what seemed to be, different stories would connect they did come together.  

I really enjoyed the stories of Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud, and I gained new insight into a refugees life.  Josef a Jewish boy from Germany was trying to get to Cuba with his family in the 1930s.  Isabel, a Cuban girl in 1994 was trying to take a man made boat to America with her family and close friends. Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 was trying to escape to Germany with his family.  All three refugees had heartbreaking moments.  All three refugees reminded me of the importance of families and how quickly lives can change.  All three refugees had a somewhat happy ending even though they did go through a lot of hardship.  I liked their mostly happy ending, but I also realize not all refugees have happy endings.  I wouldn't say it is an uplifting book, b/.c there were times i was saddened for these characters.  However, Refugee is a very enlightening read, and I really enjoyed it.  

This book is powerful.  Teachers, parents, and librarians should try and get this book into the hands of as many kids, and adults, as you can.  There is power in this book to change people, and maybe help others to reach out to help refugees.  I have a good friend who has been working with Lifting Hands International.  This organization works with and helps refugees in a myriad of ways.  My friend says, volunteering with this organization and helping these people has changed her in ways she didn't know was possible.  She loves working with them, and she loves working with these amazingly strong and grateful refugees.

After reading this book, I realize the importance and need to help refugees.  What they go through isn't easy, but instead usually heartbreaking and extremely difficult.  What did you realize after reading this book? 

Happy Powerful and Emotional Historical Fiction reading! 

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Rating: 5/5 stars
Best For: 11 - 16 year olds, 5th through 11th grade.
Worth a Check Out: Yes, check it out.
Buy It or Not: It's a great purchase.
Read Aloud: Middle school teachers even early high school teachers could have some powerful discussions and essays written about this book. 
Lesson Ideas: History, Refugees, WWII, Cuba, Syria, Will to Live, Choices, Most value, How to help, Should government allow more refugees, etc. 

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