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Summary

Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction prize 2016.

Perfect for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

This is a beautiful, vivid and deeply moving story about a refugee boy who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre. This novel reminds us all of the importance of freedom, hope and the power of a story to speak for anyone who's ever struggled to find a safe home.

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he's at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie.

Carrying a notebook that she's unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck - both talismans of her family's past and the mother she's lost - Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence. As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie's family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

©2016 Zana Fraillon (P)2016 Orion Children's Group

Critic reviews

"...a special book." (Morris Gleitzman, author of the acclaimed Once series)

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  • s
  • 10-06-17

You must listen to this story.

Thought provoking. Deals with the very relevant issue of refugees. There but for the grace of God go I. It shows how we can learn so much from children, their love and acceptance breaks down barriers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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a refugee story of fantasy and truth

Based on real refugee camp accounts in Australia. The story carries the tale of dreamlike hope and survival despite the inhuman treatment of some of the most traumatised and vulnerable people in the current crisis.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-05-18

Amazing story and narration

The story is captivating and the narration really captures the mood and feel. As I was listening I also was following the story in my book, and noticed some words were either left out or added, therefore only four stars.