The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

We rated this book:


The Unwantedis a haunting graphic novel. It reminds me of a museum exhibit. We are led through panels describing what led to the civil war in Syria. We are shown the effects on the population with maps, graphs, and snippets of refugees’ stories, including actual quotations. We are shown how some refugees escaped and what hardships they faced. We learn how different countries responded to the influx of refugees over time. There are some sad stories, some hopeful stories, but the majority are something in-between.

There is a bibliography. Each quotation has its source documented. In the author’s note, it describes the refugee camps the author visited. He chose to make the characters in the book as anonymous as possible because he didn’t want religion and politics to get in the way.

I think this is why the book feels more like an exhibit than a novel. Anonymity holds the reader at arm’s length. When a refugee’s family drowned, I felt more numb than sad. The stories are overwhelming, and there isn’t enough hope. My ten-year-old tried to read the book, and he found it too sad to finish. The Unwanted does a wonderful job explaining the history of the crisis and making the reader want to help. I just wish we were given a list of resources, so we could help.

Reviewed By:

Author Don Brown
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 112 pages
Publisher HMH Books for Young Readers
Publish Date 2018-Sep-18
ISBN 9781328810151 Buy this Book
Issue March 2019
Category Young Adult


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