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Publisher's Summary

Winner of a Parents' Choice Silver Award

An "important and riveting story, masterfully told" of family, sacrifice, and the friendship between a young Syrian refugee and an American boy living in Brussels. The Center for Children's Books calls Nowhere Boy a "perilous journey, tempered by the striking realism of obstacles refugees face daily". 

Fourteen-year-old Ahmed is stuck in a city that wants nothing to do with him. Newly arrived in Brussels, Belgium, Ahmed fled a life of uncertainty and suffering in Aleppo, Syria, only to lose his father on the perilous journey to the shores of Europe. Now, Ahmed’s struggling to get by on his own, but with no one left to trust and nowhere to go, he’s starting to lose hope.  

Then he meets Max, a 13-year-old American boy from Washington, DC. Lonely and homesick, Max is struggling at his new school and just can’t seem to do anything right. But with one startling discovery, Max and Ahmed’s lives collide, and a friendship begins to grow. Together, Max and Ahmed will defy the odds, learning from each other what it means to be brave and how hope can change your destiny.    

Set against the backdrop of the Syrian refugee crisis, award-winning author of Jepp, Who Defied the Stars Katherine Marsh delivers a gripping, heartwarming story of resilience, friendship, and everyday heroes. Barbara O'Connor, author of Wish and Wonderland, says, "Move Nowhere Boy to the top of your to-be-read pile immediately."

©2018 Katherine Marsh (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Nowhere Boy

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Kept my 14 year old interested

In an effort to complete homework assignments I happened upon this book for my 14 year old reluctant reader. It had everything to keep him engaged in the story, and I didn’t have to argue with him to get thru it. In fact, at the end, he wasn’t done with story, and wanted to hear more - truly a first.

I think in many ways he could relate to Max and even Ahmed (despite never being a refugee or losing his family and home) —and liked Oscars mischievous nature, and Farah’s willingness to ‘get in trouble’ for the right reasons.

It brought to light many questions of how the world works, and what creates this turmoil and history and why we need to learn it.

It was well written, nicely paced, and engaging topic— a great combination. 2 enthusiastic thumbs up.

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Fostering empathy and thoughtful conversation with middle schoolers

Fiction is a great way to develop empathy. Nowhere Boy tells the story of two boys in Brussels. One is a Syrian refugee who has lost his whole family and has only forged documents. The other is an American. They become not only friends, but heros to each other.

Beyond being an enjoyable read, it was an opportunity to discuss so many issues related to immigration, racism, anti-Muslim bias, and the roll of allies.

One thing I’ve done right as a parent is establish a summer family book club. This book was a gift for my son from my own mother. I recommend it for middle schoolers, particularly boys.

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Heartfelt Story

Such a lovely story of friendship and loyalty and love and I would definitely read this again.

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Well worth reading

This book is very timely and important. The comparison of the compassion and heroism shown to holocaust survivors and the lack shown to Muslin refugees is enlightening. This is a coming of age story highlighting the need for courage in the times we live in. I learned a lot.