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Five refugees recount their courageous journeys to America — and the unimaginable struggles that led them to flee their homelands — in a powerful work from the author of Beyond Magenta and We Are Here to Stay.
“From 1984, when I was born, until July 16, 2017, when I arrived in the United States, I never lived in a place where there was no war.” — Fraidoon
An Iraqi woman who survived capture by ISIS. A Sudanese teen growing up in civil war and famine. An Afghan interpreter for the U.S. Army living under threat of a fatwa. They are among the five refugees who share their stories in award-winning author and photographer Susan Kuklin’s latest masterfully crafted narrative. The five, originally from Afghanistan, Myanmar, South Sudan, Iraq, and Burundi, give gripping first-person testimonies about what it is like to flee war, face violent threats, grow up in a refugee camp, be sold into slavery, and resettle in America. Illustrated with full-color photographs of the refugees’ new lives in Nebraska, this work is essential reading for understanding the devastating impact of war and persecution — and the power of resilience, optimism, and the will to survive. Included in the end matter are chapter notes, information on resettlement and U.S. citizenship, historical time lines of war and political strife in the refugees’ countries of origin, resources for further reading, and an index.
About the Author
Susan Kuklin is the award-winning author and photographer of more than thirty books for children and young adults that address social issues and culture, including No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row; Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, a Stonewall Honor Book; and We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults. Her photographs have appeared in documentary films and in Time magazine, Newsweek, and the New York Times. Susan Kuklin lives in New York City.
Kuklin, who has previously written about similar issues (see 2019's We Are Here To Stay), does a brilliant job of capturing and transmitting the gripping, often raw, but always hopeful first-person testimonies, and readers cannot help but feel empathy for the individuals as they learn the horrors they survived (but never overcame, in some cases). A brutal, must-read account.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The firsthand accounts of war, abduction into sex slavery, torture, and loss can be difficult to read, but they make plain the desperate plight of people seeking asylum, making this work an important addition to any collection. Each story is accompanied by explanatory text from the author, along with photographs that acquaint the reader with the refugee and their circumstances. Back matter provides information on the resettling process, agencies mentioned, and a historical timeline for each country.
—Publishers Weekly Online (starred review)
Representing Afghanistan, Myanmar, South Sudan, Iraq, and Burundi, these five refugees all offer testimony on the realities of growing up in a refugee camp, being sold into slavery, and then finding refuge. All five refugees possess the will to survive and to seek safety for themselves and their families...The book calls attention to problems in countries at war and how people can seek help, become a citizen, or resettle in the United States through certain agencies.
—School Library Connection
This continues Kuklin’s substantial body of nonfiction centering the lives of marginalized individuals...Candid and posed photographs add valuable visual information. A significant theme threading through the stories is how long and involved the refugee resettlement experience is, usually taking years, reams of paperwork, and constant diligence on the part of every person involved. A necessary addition to middle-school curriculum.
The circumstances of all five refugees were perilous and frightening; their tenacity and courage (and even humor) are salutary. An exemplary appendix of notes and resources broadens the impact of the individual accounts; the accounts themselves personalize the crisis and statistics.
—The Horn Book
The photo-illustrated stories range from heartbreaking to utterly terrifying, and even the smoothest outcomes involve danger, disorientation, or multiple attempts to find a location that offers support, employment, and education...Readers who found Kuklin’s We Are Here to Stay (BCCB 12/18) illuminating will want to explore this facet of American immigration.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books