The Waiting Place: When Home Is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found

Candlewick. May 2022. 64p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536213621.
Gr 6 Up–Influential and compelling color photographs illuminate the traumatic and devastating plight of refugee children, many from Iran or Afghanistan, living at the Katsikas refugee camp in Ioannina, Greece. Nayeri, a former refugee herself, creates a nonfiction work that will tug at heartstrings by putting a face to the harsh reality refugee children experience living in cramped shipping crates or trailer homes. Nayeri talks about the psychology and pain of waiting in limbo and how it takes the joy out of life. This stunning title appeals to readers’ emotions and highlights the human toll of the refugee crisis. Nayeri’s work could be used in sociology, history, or government classes, as well as literature units on persuasive writing. An afterword includes facts about refugees before COVID-19, changes made by the Geneva Convention, and a glossary. Important questions are raised about why actual numbers are low for refugees applying for asylum, and how citizens of the world can actually help by appealing to lawmakers. Perhaps this text will be the proverbial axe that breaks through frozen indifference and inspires some heartfelt action.
VERDICT An important nonfiction tool in social emotional learning to draw attention to the harsh realities facing refugee children around the world.

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