There is a lot to weep over in life. Interestingly, today’s book is related to yesterday’s concert review by topic; displaced children needing a new home. You weep from both the dreadfulness of it all, and also when things go ‘well’ because it’s easy to feel sentimental. Or not so easy not to.
Azzi In Between is about a girl from an un-named country, who needs to flee her home with her parents, seeking a new home and a new country in Britain. This is a perfectly wonderful story, and a very necessary one, to show our children in the hopes that they might learn. Perhaps one day, a new generation of humans will always make refugees feel welcome. Or even better, that one day no one will have to become a refugee.
Sarah Garland has written and illustrated this story about Azzi, in a way that can’t be misunderstood. It’s easy to assume all refugees come from an awful place and that they will be so very happy in the new country. Here we see that apart from Azzi’s country being at war, she has a beautiful home, and loving, well-educated parents.
Opting to make her story a ‘comic’ means that Sarah gets the message across of what was, what happened then, and the final result, in a way you wouldn’t with a traditional novel. The sheer horror of their flight, and the dreary surroundings of where the family end up, dispenses with the need for thousands of words.
I would like for this book to become required reading in schools, where I’m sure it would do more good than certain new bibles I can think of.
The one thing that rings less true to this reader of newspaper articles, is that it is unrealistically quick for Azzi’s family to receive permission to remain in the UK. But I can see you need it for this story to work, and I hope it will prove true for many unfortunate people who come here.
(Endorsed by Amnesty International UK)