Review: The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Title: The Bone Sparrow
Author: Zana Fraillon
Pages: 240
Genre: YA, Fiction, Middle Grade
Source: Free ARC from Disney-Hyperion

Rating: B

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).

Review: The premise of this book is compelling and important. The refugee crisis is much worse than most people realize. They desperately flee their homes, to protect their families and escape certain death, only to face different tragedies elsewhere – death or injury during the escape, loss and separation from loved ones, being turned away by countries who are too afraid (or too cowardly) to help, or being taken in by countries who then imprison them indefinitely, treating them as less than human. It is a problem the world is choosing to turn a blind eye to, and it is horrific and tragic.

Now, this story is written for middle graders, and I suspect that is why the tone is not as dark or despairing as I was expecting. The point is to make them see the realities from the perspective of one of their peers, to awaken them to the tragedy that has befallen so many, and perhaps to call them to action now and in the future, to make them want to be the change that improves this situation. And I hope that’s what it does.

As an adult, I didn’t quite connect with this book the way I had hoped to. The writing is a bit lyrical for my taste.  And it smacked a little too much of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas for me. However, the topic is well presented and important. This is definitely a book I will share with my children when they are a little bit older.

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