The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees
The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

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Annotation: This nonfiction graphic novel is an important, timely, and eye-opening exploration of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, exposing the harsh realities of living in, and trying to escape, a war zone.
Catalog Number: #170779
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 103 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-328-81015-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-3054-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-328-81015-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-3054-9
Dewey: 956.9104
LCCN: 2017024785
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
An unflinching look at the Syrian refugee crisis, the heartbreaking narrative of The Unwanted is told through a series of vignettes drawn from real refugee experiences. Brown's storytelling has no need for hyperbole; through the stories of the refugees themselves, we are led from the war-torn landscape of Syria to the arduous and sometimes futile pursuit of exile. We meet the young and the old, the asylum-seekers and those who deny them. Like his neutral narrative, based on real-life experiences and irrefutable statistics, Brown's illustrations are equally stark and evocative. Faces lined with anguish stand in sharp relief against barren landscapes and the impassive stares of guards and politicians. Brown manages to craft an impressive portrayal that is informative but not impersonal, allowing room for both facts and emotion, despair and hope. Brown sheds light on an ongoing humanitarian crisis with worldwide repercussions, but this is no elegy; rather, it's a call for action and acknowledgment the world over.
Horn Book
Using a comics format, Brown creates a powerful history of the Syrian civil war, punctuated with the stories of many individual refugees. His illustrations have a sketchbook-like quality; faces drawn with minimal features are nonetheless expressive, lending the subjects a sort of universality. The varied panels perfectly control the pacing, thoughtfully guiding readers through difficult subject matter. Bib.
Publishers Weekly
The author of Drowned City again humanizes a story that can seem remote and incomprehensible: this time, the Syrian refugee crisis. Brown outlines the conflict, going back almost a decade: teenagers protested nonviolently, the government responded with brutal repression, the violence spread, other forces entered the conflict. A wave of Syrians sought refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan (-Just walk. Don-t breathe-); later, more attempted, at the hands of unscrupulous smugglers, to cross the Mediterranean in the hope of reaching Germany and Sweden. Eventually, -Europe sees sympathy for Syrian refugees fall.- Brown does not fictionalize (an appendix includes extensive source notes and references), and he pulls no punches: -I tried to catch my wife and children in my arms,- says a grief-stricken man floating in the ocean, -But one by one, they drowned.- In one hopeful example, a 10-year-old makes it to safety in Canada, where she -takes up skating and enjoys Halloween,- but hundreds of thousands of others languish in camps. In loosely drawn panels, Brown captures the migrants as they march over land or huddle in boats, zeroing in on their expressions of fear and exhaustion as he documents the way war-s effects spread far beyond the battlefield. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 14-up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up In the spring of 2011, a group of teenage boys are imprisoned and tortured for spray-painting "Down with the regime" on a Syrian wall. Thousands of citizens who rise up in protest are met by tanks and snipers. The demonstrations and violence escalate, and civil war breaks out in Syria. Unsure of their chances for survival but certain of the dangers at home, thousands of refugees flee to surrounding areas. Blocks of text provide context about Syria's civil war, as well as commentary on the international response, with supporting maps and charts seamlessly incorporated into the story. The loose linework reflects the chaos, and the full-color art depicts a muted sepia and blue gray palette, with touches of brighter hues for effect. Violence is freely but not gratuitously shown, and death is depicted only rarely. The back matter includes an extensive bibliography, with citations for the numerous quotes used in the dialogue, as well as a journal summary of Brown's 2017 trip to Syrian camps in Greece, complete with pictures and source notes. VERDICT This accessible and heartbreaking primer, with its stirring simplicity and a note of hope, should be required reading for all teens hoping to be empathetic and engaged world citizens. Alea Perez, Westmont Public Library, IL
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The collective tale of Syrian refugees' attempt to escape the horrors of their country's civil war in search of a better tomorrow.When war broke out in 2011 between the armed forces loyal to the country's potentate and a growing number of insurgents fighting his tyrannical rule, millions of Syrians fled the war zone, overflowing neighboring countries and creating a refugee crisis in Europe, their wished-for ultimate destination. Rather than focusing on individual stories, Brown (Up & Down, 2018, etc.) zeroes in on particular situations, providing compassionate snapshots of the harsh realities facing the displaced populations: cunning smugglers, unwelcoming neighbors, hostile legislation, the refugees' own disenchantment with their difficult conditions….Brown's poignant testament is fittingly titled The Unwanted, as the book damningly chronicles the slowly building resentment among host communities and the mounting legal restrictions on the asylum-seeking populations. Most importantly, by alternating sheer tragic moments (rockets falling, the capsizing of a boat, drownings, rejection) and glimpses of joy (a child's successful resettlement, a compassionate neighbor, family reunions), he succeeds in offering a window into the humanity of displaced groups—their resilience and tenacity but also their inspiring, hopeful nature. The pen-and-ink digitally colored art has a loose, informal style that vividly expresses the intense emotions contained in the book.A moving chronicle of a real humanitarian tragedy. (maps, author's note, source notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 14-adult)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Word Count: 6,115
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 191050 / grade: Middle Grades

Sibert Honor Medalist New York Public Library Best Of 2018 The Horn Book's Fanfare 2018 list Kirkus Best Books of 2018 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Winner In the tradition of two-time Sibert honor winner Don Brown's critically acclaimed, full-color nonfiction graphic novels The Great American Dust Bowl and Drowned City , The Unwanted is an important, timely, and eye-opening exploration of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, exposing the harsh realities of living in, and trying to escape, a war zone. Starting in 2011, refugees flood out of war-torn Syria in Exodus-like proportions. The surprising flood of victims overwhelms neighboring countries, and chaos follows. Resentment in host nations heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grows. By 2017, many want to turn their backs on the victims. The refugees are the unwanted. Don Brown depicts moments of both heartbreaking horror and hope in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.

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