Trouble Tomorrow by Terry Whitebeach & Sarafino Enadio. Pub.Allen&Unwin, 2017.
This is the harrowing story of 15 year old Obulejo and his 5 year journey from his homeland in South Sudan to Australia. It is based on a true story and will give the reader an understanding of the hardship, violence and mistreatment that many refugees go through to arrive in the safety of our country.
Obulejo is a beautiful person whose name means Trouble Tomorrow the title of this book but I think he has had his fair share of trouble already and deserves better. If you met Obulejo in the circumstances in which he finds himself in, then you would be a lucky person indeed.
Born in a South Sudan village that had English as it’s educational language and christianity as it’s belief. The South had rich agricultural land and oil. This was desired by the largely Muslim North with it’s Sharia Law and war broke out. There were two wars the first ended in 1972 when I traveled south from Egypt to Juba and Malakal into Zaire. The people were lovely and it surprised me that the second war from 1983 to 2005 was such a brutal barbaric affair. It’s still going on.
Obulejo’s flight in the face of rebel advancement mirrors 100’s of thousands of others who did not survive. The wars cost over 2 million lives with thousands more in refugee camps. Life in a refugee camp is also a feature of this book.
For high school students and young adults but prepare for some harrowing brutality and some numbing humanity. The treatment of children will make you weep.
Rubies in the Dust, Voices from Afghanistan Curated by Tariq Habibyar, Retold by Heather McQuillan. Pub. http://www.habibyarpress.com
In 1971 I had the privilege of traveling through Afghanistan as part of my overland trip from UK to new Zealand. I found it a peaceful and private place and stayed one night in the town of Herat across the border from Iran, where the stories in this book are set
These stories mean something to me and I hope they mean something to you. There are six stories all told by children who have grown all their lives with war in their home country causing many Afghanis to become refugees in all parts of the World.
These stories all retold by Heather McQuillan after being collected by Tariq Habibyar are all very moving and show the bravery, the resilience, the suffering and the imagination of children living under hostile conditions.
The resilience and dedication of the boys to their families survival and the unbelievable bad treatment of girls is a sad indictment on the Taliban and the strict rule they enforced. The hope given to all Afghanis by the defeat of the Taliban is also reflected in theses stories.
The stories are suitable for primary, intermediate and high school students. Support this book if you can
While we Run by Karen Healey. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2014. This YA novel is sequel to When We Wake the story of Tegan who was cryonically preserved after being shot in 2027 only to wake up in a different Australia 100 years later.
In the earlier book Tegan and some others including Abdi the handsome boy from Djibouti who narrates this novel, expose the Ark Project, a Government scheme to cryonically freeze refugees and ship them off to another planet with the promise of a better life.
After being caught the Government control Tegan and Abdi by torture and make them put a positive spin on the Ark Project and as we found in NZ with the Nicky Hagar book Dirty Politics, people are prepared to abandon truth in favour of a comforting falsehood. This is one of the themes in this novel.
The second major theme is the role of violence in achieving political ends even when it is for the right reasons. Tegan, Abdi and the group of rebels who want to expose the evils of the government agonise with some relish the collateral damage associated with getting the truth out. Does the end justify the means?
Tegan and Abdi have been tortured and need to get over this and also sort their feelings out for each other. I will let you decide how well they do this, but things are resolved and all the loose ends tied up and I guess some will think it is well done others may not be so sure.
I found the book a serious work on serious issues. The question of cryonics is handled well although I am not sure of the science. Karen Healey maintains the action, including the all Australian bushfire, to keep the reader interested and of course the Tegan/Abdi romance provides another sideline. Read it and see if you agree.
Refugees and global warming are other important issues. Its worth a read.
Georg is a German boywho grew up in Hitlers German with anti Jewish sentiments and a love of his country.
What he didn’t know is that his English born father was a Jew. At a school prize giving members of a Nazi youth movement expose the father and throw him off a balcony to his death.
Georg and his German mother escape and his mother arranges for his flight out of Germany packed in a suitcase to France then England. He changes his name to George and sets about losing his German accent to become and English boy.
He experiences the blitz and is then shipped to Australia to be adopted by an Australin family.
Such children were called the “lost Children” and many had miserable lives but not George. Dinkum Aussie farmers the Peaslakes and a girl called Mud help him settle.
But as the war worsens he feels guilty. He is a German and therefore the enemy.
Great story, well written with a positive ending. Primary and Intermediate readers.
Shadow by Michael Morpurgo. Pub.HarperCollins, 2010.
As always there is an animal in the story playing a crucial role. This time it is a Springer Spaniel named Shadow but as we find out later in the story, her real name is Polly.
Matt is a young English boy who has a friend from Afghanistan called Aman. When Aman and his mother are taken to Yarls Wood detention Centre with a view to being deported back to Afghanistan, Matt enlists the help of his ex journalist grandfather to help out.
What evolves is a story that can apply to many of the world’s refugees who have been through extreme hardship, will be killed if they return to their home country and who are not wanted by the country they seek refugee status in.
Set in Bamiyan Province where the Taliban destroyed those magnificient statues of Bubbha, thankfully I saw them in the 1970’s and they were incredible. The New Zealand contingent in Afghanistan are working in Bamiyan.
Add in a dog who Aman and his family befriend, a dog not found normally in Afghanistan and one who the locals condemn as a “foreign dog”. This dog has a history and becomes crucial to the outcome of this story.
Great story that will help children get an insight to a world wide problem of refugees. We are all human beings aren’t we?
Suitable middle to Intermediate school, but it is such a good yarn older kids would love it too.