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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT!!!!!
WOW!!! Meet Alem. His Mother is Eritrean, His father Ethiopian, and with both countries at war, Alem and his Family are neither safe or wanted in either country. Then his father does something which at first seems horrid, but really shows love towards his son. Follow Alem as a Refugee. Be careful. This book is sizzling hot with love compassion tears and in the end...
Published on 11 Feb. 2002 by purkissam@aol.com

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good to teach, not so good to read
I have a problem with books like this. It's a common mistake I encountered a lot when I worked as a publishing editor. The issue is when an author fails to understand and resolve the difference the market and the readership. The market is who buys the book; the readership is who reads it. If they are out of alignment, the resulting book is often uneven in tone because it...
Published 19 months ago by John Moseley


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT!!!!!, 11 Feb. 2002
By 
purkissam@aol.com (North Yorkshire England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
WOW!!! Meet Alem. His Mother is Eritrean, His father Ethiopian, and with both countries at war, Alem and his Family are neither safe or wanted in either country. Then his father does something which at first seems horrid, but really shows love towards his son. Follow Alem as a Refugee. Be careful. This book is sizzling hot with love compassion tears and in the end joy.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A topical story that could change atitudes., 24 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
A heart rending story that shows how strong children can be. Although this is similar to Face which looked at a teenagers ability to cope with change, it is much more challenging about topical issues. My low ability class of 14yr old boys have begged me to buy this book after my description of reading it in one sitting and ending up in tears. It covers the problems of family break ups, bereavements and friendships. A rollercoaster ride.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING BOOK!, 8 Aug. 2006
By 
Ewan "Ewan" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
I dont read many books but i choose this because i thought it was going to b a good read, i was right. I couldn't put this book down. It is very touching to read. As the main character and myself were rufly the same age i found it easy to understand him but i would encourage any person of any age to read this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good to teach, not so good to read, 29 Aug. 2013
By 
John Moseley (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
I have a problem with books like this. It's a common mistake I encountered a lot when I worked as a publishing editor. The issue is when an author fails to understand and resolve the difference the market and the readership. The market is who buys the book; the readership is who reads it. If they are out of alignment, the resulting book is often uneven in tone because it is pitched at two different groups at once. Refugee Boy is written for the schools market, and as an English teacher myself, it raises lots of interesting issues about immigration, human rights, multiculturalism and social responsibility that my students can debate and discuss at length. It is effectively a textbook, and serves the same purpose as a provoking media article, as opposed to being a noteworthy piece of fiction. For example, some of the phraseology is lacking in naturalism e.g. when Alem's father describes himself as a `pan-Africanist' in a letter to his twelve-year-old son. The character development is also extremely disjointed in places - Alem's friend Robert rapidly evolves from playground luddite to intellectual free-thinker and political reformer in order to support the exploration of the themes of immigration and social justice.
I have no problem generally with issues-led books, but having raised a number of important issues, Zephaniah has literally no idea how to end the novel, so the resolution, involving a double tragedy, is extremely contrived and lacking in plausibility. A much better example of an issues-led book where audience matches readership is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
If you are a teacher of English you can do a lot with this book, particularly as many of the contentions raised are dubious to say the least, e.g. that the political asylum process in the UK, which is in fact one of the most liberal and inclusive in Europe, is unnecessarily draconian. As a meritorious piece of fiction in its own right, however, Refugee Boy, has some fundamental shortcomings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suitable for both adults and children, 11 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
This is a children's book by the poet, I think its one of his early books. Its about a boy who comes to England from Ethiopia, and his struggle to get asylum in Britain. It is well written and takes you through all the process that he has to go through to get asylum. It was good because it was very sympathetically written, you felt sympathy for the boy but didn't feel like Benjamin Zephaniah was trying to make out that any part of the system was wrong or unjust. It just laid out the facts in an easy to understand way. I would recommend this to both adults and children, as although it is easy to read it brings up some big issues.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Honest, 29 July 2003
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
This book is an extremely honest look at how gruesome life can be for a young person, but how strong that person can be because they want peace in the world, and have love in their heart. Reading this book opens your eyes into the world of refugees in England. Benjamin Zephaniah, the author, wants us to think about others outside our safe little worlds. He shows us how important friends are, and how much people need to care for each other. Don't think that because you're young, you don't count. People working together make a difference.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book I couldn't put down!, 11 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
Hi,
I have been a fan of Benjamin Z for years.
I took this book everywhere just so I could finish it. I would put it down and I would then be excited to read what happens next. War stories have always appealed to me and this one particularly did. I love the way Benjamin writes this story and shows the boy's courage and determination to succeed in life. I really liked the way he brought different racial backgrounds together. I have noticed that Benjamin writes sad endings to his books and the ending to 'Refuge boy' made me cry.
An excellent book and worth checking out.
Thanks
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving story, 14 Dec. 2010
By 
Sharon (OLDHAM, Lancs, GB) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
This books leaves you wet with tears... a very moving true story.. a definate recommend and useful addition to your library. Once you start you wont want to keep it down i read it in hours..thats how good it is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Alone in UK at 14 as a refugee, 15 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
This caught my eye from Amazon advertising alongside a book I had ordered. I recognised the author but was still surprised
by how good it was and it was easy reading. The type size is quite large. The story is told through the eyes of a 14 year old boy abandoned in England by his father because his life would be better in UK than in his country of origin. It contains all the perils of teenage life in UK 21st century culture which he sees objectively and compares with his African experience. It's a good read and quite stimulating. Teenagers and adults would both enjoy this book. Is it used in schools for debate?
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5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional rollercoaster, 12 May 2012
This review is from: Refugee Boy (Paperback)
I found that Refugee boy is a book that takes you on a emotional rollercoaster . It makes you think how Alem must feel as his parents are in a mixed marriage and both countries are at war. His family are not wanted in either Ethopia and Eritea so they must move to h England. When Alem and Mr Kelo(Alem's father) both get to England Alem's father makes a life changing decision which seems horrible at first but then makes starts to make sense as the pages past. Alem has to get through a lot of happy and sad times but wants you to join him. But be prepared for laughter and tears.
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Refugee Boy
Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah (Paperback - 28 Aug. 2001)
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