Stormy Seas – Nonfiction Picture Book Review

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 Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
written by Mary Beth Leatherdale 
illustrated by Eleanor Shakespeare
Annick Press, 2017

At a Glance

Genre(s)/Categories:

Nonfiction Picture Book

Age Range:

10yo +
There is a fairly graphic suicide attempt in the first story. Keep this in mind when choosing the audience for this book.

Plot:

This book chronicles the true stories of 5 children as they board boats to flee their homelands in search of asylum.

Pros:

  • Packs a lot into a relatively short book
  • told in first person, it feels like you are right there with the actual people
  • the collage and photo design almost feels like a scrapbook
  • Presents the info in a fairly unbiased manner
  • great for school reports

Cons:

  • I wanted more stories!

Would I recommend this title:

Yes!!

 

Full Review

 

I originally picked this book up, thinking I could read it with my daughter in order to start talking about refugees and some of the current issues in an age appropriate manner. While ultimately I felt that this book wasn’t quite appropriate for a 7yo–the first section goes into some graphic detail of an attempted suicide–I am still very glad that I picked it up. 

I actually learned quite a bit from the book. With refugees being a hot topic button, I felt that I gained a lot from reading this. It goes a bit into international law, and protections for refugees from the U.N.–things that are pertinent to today’s discussions. 

While the book is told from the refugees’ point of view, and the author definitely wants you to feel sympathy and horror for their situations, I feel like the book does a great job of presenting facts and not demonizing the opposition. I feel like someone opposed to refugees entering their country would not be able to dismiss this book as just propaganda or too biased.

I was impressed by the amount of research done by the author. She actually interviewed some of these refugees–now adults themselves. The collage-type graphics and layout made it feel as if I was reading stories put down in a scrapbook.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to learn more about refugees.

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