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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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    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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Perfect

Voices were perfect. Story was perfect. Great Length, great meaning. I enjoyed listening to this so much, it was great. I am not exaggerating with a my perfect rating.

1 of 1 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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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 13 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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  • KG
  • 08-16-18

Story overlaps are great

I love how all 3 story’s overlap with each other. Alan did a good job. 10/10 would recommend.

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My 1st Gratz was Great!

This was the first Gratz book I read. I picked it on a whim, having heard positive things about his other novels. This was so great! Three refugees, three stories, three timelines, and ONE ties that binds. You wont be disappointed.

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Best book I've ever read

the best book that i have ever read before in my life.The different stories are awesome.

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Compelling

Alan Gratz is a masterful literary weaver of 3 lives experiencing the trauma of journeying to build a new life after losing everything

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Kong family review

Our whole family loved it! We were moved and inspired by the touching stories. A beautifully crafted book.

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  • Phillip Blight
  • 06-03-18

Am amazing and creative totally recommend for the teen listener

A very awakening and moving audiobook based mainly on truth. I highly recommend this audiobook to people searching for a greatly interesting book for a long car journey or to listen to throughout the week it will keep you on the edge of your seat and yearning for more.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-24-18

Great read, even for adults

While Alan Gratz teaches and writes for children, Refugee is one of those books everyone should read to learn about the old and new humanitarian issues around the world. The structure of the book is awesome, as it skips between the narrators every chapter, tying all their experiences together in a historical timeline. Some powerful quotes were performed wonderfully. Overall a great audio book for all ages.