We are afraid of what we don’t understand. We also tend to vilify what makes us afraid. As refugees flee their various countries, many frightened people see them as criminals or terrorists. Alan Gratz’s book helps us recognize what they really are--people. They are people with lives so miserable that they give up all they know and love to face countless dangers in hopes of safety. In spite of this, so many people tragically turn those refugees away.
In Refugee, Gratz tells the story of three young people. Josef is a young Jewish boy living in Germany in the late 1930s. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. And Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. While their exact experiences and time periods are different, their search for refuge is the same--dangerous, tragic, and frightening. I hope many will read this book and recognize the humanity behind refugees. I hope also, that we will all strive to be more welcoming and humane to those in need.