A young Syrian refugee tries to flee the horrors of war in this Danish import.
In this nearly wordless graphic novel, Amina is a young Syrian girl living in the midst of violent conflict. Instructed by her parents to wait as they venture out for help, she remains home for days when they don’t come back, as the tanks and fighter planes thunder around her small home. An uncle arrives to inform her that her parents will not be returning and she must leave immediately. With only enough money for a single passage, Amina finds herself alone on an overcrowded boat. In one heart-stopping moment, the congested vessel capsizes, throwing her overboard. While descending into the waves, she recalls happy memories of her parents, playing hide-and-seek and making sarmas with her mother. She also remembers their stories of Zenobia, an ancient Syrian queen who defeated the Romans, and the strength that she signifies. Amina’s journey is tragic and will leave readers with much to reflect upon and discuss. Horneman’s large, compelling, and evocative panels brilliantly portray Amina’s struggles, infusing recollections of joy into moments of terror. Panels alternate between past and present, with the past rendered in a two-color earth-toned scheme and the present depicted in vivid full color. Deceptively spare, this timely and important offering is a must-read, helping bring greater understanding and empathy to a situation that for many feels far away.
Graphic storytelling at its most powerful. (Graphic fiction. 8-14)