Friday, 22 May 2015

ReaditDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 22nd May 2015 - "Azzi In Between" by (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Azzi In Between

Written and Illustrated by
Sarah Garland

Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books

This is one very special book, and though I first read it when Charlotte was possibly a bit too young to appreciate the story and the message it conveys, we were lucky enough to be sent a copy in time for the book's recent softcover reprint (re-released on 7th May 2015 so available in all good indie bookstores now!)

"Azzi In Between" is the story of a young girl (Azzi) who at first seems to live a fairly ordinary and happy life. But her country is gripped by war. Soldiers march outside her house, helicopter gunships cruise overhead and though Azzi's life continues fairly normally, one night her father receives a phone call that will change the whole family's life forever.

Quickly bundling Azzi and her mother into the family car, but painfully and sadly leaving Grandma behind to look after the house, her father embarks on a perilous journey to try and catch one of the last refugee ships leaving for a new country. With Azzi hidden under her grandma's blanket, they make their way past roadside checkpoints, and soon have to join the chaotic struggle to find a place on the boat before it leaves.

They make it by the skin of their teeth, destined for the unknown.

Azzi's new country is different, the family find a new place to live but it's uncomfortable and shabby. Azzi's father won't be allowed to work to earn the money they need, so the family face lean times. Thankfully Azzi manages to enrol at a new school, but wonders how she'll fit in when she has nothing in common with her classmates and can't even speak their language.

Azzi's story is simply told but its impact is colossal, particularly for its chosen audience who (like Charlotte) may not be much younger or older than Azzi but also may never have known the fear and the hardship that many refugee children will know during their early lives. From an adult perspective, the terrifying prospect of being displaced from your home and country by war is something that is largely lost on folk who live a comfortable and safe existence.

Charlotte was (quite rightly) gripped by "Azzi In Between" from start to finish. I won't give away the end of the story but to have your child come running up to you when you come home from work to tell you (joyfully) how much they loved a book is rewarding and fulfilling, but having your child want to discuss the story's meaning and what happens to all the other children like Azzi is vital and important and equally fulfilling too.

"Azzi in between" has deservedly won a ton of awards and humbly we add it to our roster of hugely important books that have made a gigantic impact on us during the course of writing this blog. It should be on every shelf in every children's home or in every school or local library.

Charlotte's best bit: Azzi's reunion

Daddy's Favourite bit: A vital, emotional and impactive book that will be read, re-read and celebrated as one of the most important children's books of all time

(Kindly sent to us for review by Frances Lincoln Children's Books)