Azzi In BetweenAzzi In Between
By Sarah Garland
Illustrated by Sarah Garland
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

“A perfect choice for reluctant readers and students like Azzi, learning English as a second language, every school should have this book readily to hand for every child to read – and perhaps it should also become compulsory reading for all government employees who work with asylum seekers.” –Marjorie Coughlan, Paper Tigers


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Description
Azzi and her parents are in danger. They have to leave their home and escape to another country on a frightening journey by car and boat. In the new country they must learn to speak a new language, find a new home and Azzi must start a new school. With a kind helper at the school, Azzi begins to learn English and understand that she is not the only one who has had to flee her home. She makes a new friend, and with courage and resourcefulness, begins to adapt to her new life. But Grandma has been left behind and Azzi misses her more than anything. Will Azzi ever see her grandma again? Drawing on her own experience of working among refugee families, renowned author and illustrator Sarah Garland tells, with tenderness and humour, an exciting adventure story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Reviews & Accolades
Endorsed by Amnesty International
Winner of the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award, 2013

“Sarah Garland’s Azzi in Between uses a graphic-novel format to tell the story of Azzi and her parents, who are forced to flee their war-torn home. Her sensitive handling of it masks the weight and significance of the subject which Garland is introducing to her young readers.” –The Independent (UK)

“It is unusual to come across a picture book that one feels so strongly about that one wants everyone – whatever their age – to read it. There could be no better way of introducing children to what it is like to be a refugee child in Britain than Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland…Garland treats her subject with unpatronising, well-informed sensitivity.” –Kate Kellaway, The Guardian (UK)

“She has created a gem of a story that is told with great sensitively and insight.  A perfect choice for reluctant readers and students like Azzi, learning English as a second language, every school should have this book readily to hand for every child to read – and perhaps it should also become compulsory reading for all government employees who work with asylum seekers.” –Marjorie Coughlan, Paper Tigers


Groups Represented
Middle Eastern

Themes
Immigration, family relationships, learning English

Setting
Unspecified Middle Eastern country
Unspecified Western country (possibly New Zealand or Australia)

Author Research
From an interview with UK newspaper The Independent:

I began to write Azzi in a small city in New Zealand, where my husband and I were working for four months. Three-hundred-and fifty Burmese refugee families had recently arrived there, and I became involved in their lives, visited them in their homes, and at the local school, and at the technical college where the adults were learning English. They had been through traumatic experiences and the children were in a state of shock. I realised that I wanted to write this book more than anything else, so I jettisoned my other work and began it.

I only realised recently, when I was talking to a group of children in London about the book, that my original inspiration came from something that had happened long ago. When I was a child at school, a refugee boy arrived from Hungary. He was completely ignored by us all. He sat alone in class. He had no partner at games, walked between lessons on his own. As I grew up I thought about what he must have been through before arriving at my school, and how ignorant and unaware and unintentionally cruel we had been. I had felt guilty about that boy all my life, so I think maybe I partly wrote this book for the ignorant child that I was.

[I wrote the story in graphic novel form] to make the book appeal to as wide an age group as possible. Also, such a visual telling of the story means that it can be understood by both adults and children with little or no English. It also meant I could fit in far more action than in a picture book, and slow down and speed up the story by using larger or smaller frames.

Read the rest of the interview here

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