March 24, 2018

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Escape from Syria by Samya Kullab | SLJ Review

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redstarKULLAB, Samya. Escape from Syria. illus. by Jackie Roche. 96p. Firefly. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781770859821.

Gr 8 Up –Amina is one of millions of people affected by the ongoing Syrian conflict. Following a vicious attack in their home neighborhood, the teen and her family struggle to find normalcy amid the political chaos. They join the ranks of refugees fleeing for survival, traveling through Syria, Lebanon, and ultimately Canada. This is a collaborative masterpiece: Kullab, a reporter who has an extensive background covering conflicts in Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, has teamed up with cartoonist Roche to deliver this emotional narrative. Kullab begins Amina’s story in media res, immersing the audience into a fully realized world with strong characters. Roche’s colorful illustrations, with cartoon characters and immaculately detailed scenery, provide emotion and heart when the script sometimes loses itself in its recapping of recent events. Amina’s story closely mirrors real historical events, and Syria feels like a developing protagonist in the plot. There are moments of graphic violence and the depictions of war-torn landscapes feature wounded soldiers and corpses. ­VERDICT In league with Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, this is a must-purchase for any teen or adult graphic novel collection.–Matisse Mozer, County of Los Angeles Public Library

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

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