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THE UNWANTED by Don Brown Kirkus Star


Stories of the Syrian Refugees

by Don Brown ; illustrated by Don Brown

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-328-81015-1
Publisher: HMH Books

The collective tale of Syrian refugees’ attempt to escape the horrors of their country’s civil war in search of a better tomorrow.

When war broke out in 2011 between the armed forces loyal to the country’s potentate and a growing number of insurgents fighting his tyrannical rule, millions of Syrians fled the war zone, overflowing neighboring countries and creating a refugee crisis in Europe, their wished-for ultimate destination. Rather than focusing on individual stories, Brown (Up & Down, 2018, etc.) zeroes in on particular situations, providing compassionate snapshots of the harsh realities facing the displaced populations: cunning smugglers, unwelcoming neighbors, hostile legislation, the refugees’ own disenchantment with their difficult conditions….Brown’s poignant testament is fittingly titled The Unwanted, as the book damningly chronicles the slowly building resentment among host communities and the mounting legal restrictions on the asylum-seeking populations. Most importantly, by alternating sheer tragic moments (rockets falling, the capsizing of a boat, drownings, rejection) and glimpses of joy (a child’s successful resettlement, a compassionate neighbor, family reunions), he succeeds in offering a window into the humanity of displaced groups—their resilience and tenacity but also their inspiring, hopeful nature. The pen-and-ink digitally colored art has a loose, informal style that vividly expresses the intense emotions contained in the book.

A moving chronicle of a real humanitarian tragedy.  

(maps, author’s note, source notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 14-adult)