A Story Like the Wind

illus. by Jo Weaver. 80p. Eerdmans. Oct. 2018. Tr $16. ISBN 9780802855145.
RedReviewStarGr 4–7—Drifting in the frigid waters of the Mediterranean, 14-year-old Rami is floating with other Middle Eastern refugees, clinging to a small dinghy with nothing but a violin case. When the others share their names and their meager food supplies, Rami says he is neither cold nor hungry, because he has nothing to share in return. Rami's fellow passengers urge him to share his violin to distract them from their horrible plight and memories of war, loved ones dying, and their narrow escapes. Rami stories unfurl with the melodious offerings from his beloved violin as he weaves the music with tales of oppression, escape, and freedom. Amidst hauntingly beautiful blue-toned drawings, Rami and his violin tell the tale of a young Mongolian shepherd who finds an orphaned white stallion and nurses it back to health. The stallion is beautiful but strong-willed and free-spirited, and it soon attracts the attention of the Dark Lord who rules the land. Unable to tame the stallion, the Dark Lord is intent on breaking its spirit, but, like the wind, the stallion cannot be contained. The story resonates with each passenger; Nor and Mustafa remember the story of how they met and their son's birth, while others think of life before wartime, and each is reminded that freedom is within them and cannot be taken away, giving them strength to endure their current hardships.
VERDICT A deeply powerful and timely narrative that will evoke conversation and thoughtfulness regarding the plight of refugees, ensuring readers see those affected as survivors.

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