Review of Refugee audiobook

by Alan Gratz; read by Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, and Assaf Cohen
Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic Audio    Rev. 11/17
7 CDs    7.62 hrs.    978-1-338-19107-3    $34.99

The difficult plight of refugees is here represented by the stories of three children from different locations and time periods. Josef, a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany, departs for Cuba on the MS St. Louis. Isabel’s family leaves Castro’s Cuba and heads for Florida in 1994 on a homemade boat. A bomb destroys Mahmoud’s house in Aleppo, Syria, in 2015, forcing his family to flee toward Germany on foot and by boat. Narrated by three different readers who bring distinct personalities to their characters (and make an effort to get local pronunciations and inflections right), this reading takes an already suspenseful story to new levels of emotional intensity. The audio version accentuates the commonalities between the narrative strands and brings harrowing scenes to life.

From the November/December 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Julie Hakim Azzam
Julie Hakim Azzam
Julie Hakim Azzam teaches in the English department at the University of Pittsburgh. While her academic specialization is on literature from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, she has a passion for children’s literature and has been interviewing children’s authors for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for many years.

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