The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

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Book Information
Rating: Outstanding
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Don Brown
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Year: 2018
ISBN: 9781328810151
Pages: 112

This graphic novel introduces the first act of rebellion against Assad in Syria in 2011. The novel shows the brutality of the Syrian Civil War and the dangers that everyday Syrians encountered. Assad’s attempts to silence his people and the atrocities acted out upon them are shown. There is no direct plot line in this story but it flows together wonderfully. Refugees are depicted fleeing the country in boats. Text bubbles provide the reader with the thoughts of the refugees, showing their hopes and desires for a life of safety for themselves and their children. The book includes facts and figures that breakdown the statistics of the refugee crisis. There are pages that show the impact of Islamophobia on the acceptance and help offered to refugees.

The Unwanted is a stunning graphic novel that tells and shows the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis. The images depicted show the terror and hope on the faces of men, women, and children as they seek safety in a new land. Don Brown includes facts and figures as he weaves the tales of refugees together. He shares their pain and worries and the harsh realities of what it is like to be a person who has to flee their home country. His depictions are factual and he provides a lengthy list of sources and further readings. The images are heart-wrenching and bring to life the sparse text. The book is nuanced in its approach to capturing the many lives that have been affected but does a great job at stressing the dangers that refugees face and the risks that they are willing to take. This is a great book to introduce readers to the Syrian refugee crisis and would be a wonderful addition to any classroom.

*Contains moderate violence.