February 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale | SLJ Review

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redstarLEATHERDALE, Mary Beth. Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees. illus. by Eleanor Shakespeare. 64p. chron. websites. Annick. Apr. 2017. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781554518968; pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781554518951.

STAR-NF-Leatherdale-StormySeasGr 4-7 –Across time, desperation has driven people from their homes in search of refuge—and the only way out is often through a stormy passage on the sea. Ruth was one of 900 Jewish people who boarded a ship, hoping to escape Nazi Germany; Mohammed, orphaned during the civil war in the Ivory Coast, scrounged up money to board a narrow, crowded boat headed for Europe. While Shakespeare provides evocative collage artwork, Leatherdale deftly retells the stories in spare but honest language; the text does not shy away from the perilous circumstances that the young people both escaped from and encountered. There are no guarantees of happy endings, but the information is important for students to understand. It is impossible to ignore the importance of a book like this in the current political climate, and educators and librarians looking for a human face for the refugee crisis will find this offering essential. VERDICT A timely, powerful piece of nonfiction, this is a first purchase for most collections.–Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter’s Preparatory School, Jersey City

This review was published in the School Library Journal April 2017 issue.

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