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Publisher's Summary

A tour de force from acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087), this timely and powerful novel tells the story of three different children seeking refuge.

Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world....

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America....

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe....

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers - from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087, Projekt 1065) delivers an action-packed novel that tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.

©2017 Alan Gratz (P)2017 Scholastic Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intended for 5-8th graders, but it is good for adults too

Wonderfully read by three different actors, the individual stories of the plight of three refugee families in different decades is so compelling and actually really important--especially for children. The intensity of many of the horrific experiences of these people may be too much for some young people, but if they could deal with The Hunger Games, they would be ok with this. The historical accuracy was done well and the characters were compelling. The author packs in a great deal within a short book and it serves as an important statement about compassion in understanding the refugee experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Kids'-Eye View of Fleeing Home

This heart-wrencher of a tale chronicles three separate journeys of children experiencing what none should have to: fleeing a home that is no longer safe. We meet Josef, a Jewish boy leaving Germany in 1939 as he boards the ill-fated ocean liner St. Louis; Isabelle, who, along with her family, flees Cuba as a 1994 rafter; and Mahmoud, who departs Aleppo in 2015, bound for (bringing us full circle) Germany. The stories, unfolding in alternating points of view, are benchmarked at the start of each chapter with a subhead: xx days from home, demonstrating that from a kids' vantage point, home - or lack of - is the only landmark that really matters.

The three accounts really took me into the heart of these historical moments in a way that news reports rarely do, each depicting a unique version of desperation, tragedy, and longing. But while I was on the edge-of-my-seat throughout, the ultimate conclusion is one of hope - that the sins of our collective past do in fact have the power to positively impact the choices we make in the future.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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awesome And enlightening

wow everything was perfect. I will share with all I can. thank you for sharing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well written and timely

Gratz knows how to tackle tough topics, and has done so in previous books. In Refugee, he intertwines three children's stories that span across decades but all speak to the incredible challenges of surviving a refugee experience. A compelling story for middle school students as an independent read, and I plan to read it aloud to my fifth grade class. It is intense and there is violence and death, so it may require conversations with any upper el reader who is interested. Overall, I think this is Gratz's best work to date, and all three narrators were skilled in their deliveries of the three main characters' stories.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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amazing!!!!!

the book is soo amazing the narrator did such a good job at acting out the charecters.

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Read with 5th grade class

This book was awesome! Very long, we have been listening to it for a little over a month, but the students loved it. It was given to us to use during our moral focus month on courage because the characters show courage throughout the book. They loved the different voices used throughout the story. I was very impressed!

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This book hits home!

This book has the stories of 3 families that go through many events that real people have been through, and they keep going through. I had a knot in my throat as I listened to the stories and the hardships and tragedies that were SO real, TOO REAL! I hope this book reaches millions of people that need to open their mind and heart to the needs of others such and develop a sense of empathy within their own families.

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Gripping stories that made my heart sorrow.

These are beautifully written stories, based on real people who experienced devastating loss and misery. Yet through all their trials, they continue to hope and persevere. A must read for all to gain a better understanding of current world problems and the people who must face such unfairness and bigotry.

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A perfect storm of emotions: dread and hope

Our children need to see themselves and the world in stories! Refugee should be in every library and maybe home. In the story, we meet three families on three journeys to one truth. We need each other! My heart breaks and aches but let's remember that the ending is not in stone! It's still being written. How do we help the next Josef, Isabel or Mahmoud?

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    4 out of 5 stars

A wet comparisons

Interesting topic see how passage of time didn't change threasons e dangers of escapes or I the treatment