In Search of Safety: Voices of Refugees

Candlewick. May 2020. 256p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780763679606.
Gr 9 Up–Kuklin features five powerful stories of refugees that culminate in making a home in Nebraska. While the voices are diverse, they have all experienced incomprehensible trauma before settling in America. The people include an Afghani translator for the military, a Karen man (presently known as Burma or Myanmar) without a homeland, a South Sudanese survivor of civil war, a Yazidi captive of ISIS, and a man of combined Hutu and Tutsi heritage who escaped genocide. Each story details their upbringing and then explains the conflict leading to their status and how they were able to relocate. A reflection on their current welfare ends each section. The book lives up to its subtitle and packs a visceral punch for readers. Discussions of rape, physical and emotional abuse, and war are not sugarcoated. For teen readers, the details could be unsettling. Kuklin maintains a clear focus on the first-person narratives, but they are a little uneven because English is a new language for the speakers. Sentences are stunted and short yet powerfully demonstrate global differences in politically or religiously unstable countries. Most of the refugees were able to relocate using non-government organizations (NGOs).
VERDICT Add this title to collections to continue to develop comprehensive #Ownvoices narratives. This one reaches wide and deep.

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