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Two countries at war – Ethiopia and Eritrea. Alem’s father is Ethiopian and his mother is Eritrean. Caught in the middle, they are enemies of both sides. To celebrate Alem’s birthday his father takes him on holiday for a few days in London. He has never been out of Ethiopia before and is very excited. They have a great few days together until one morning when Alem wakes up in the Bed and Breakfast they are staying at to find the unthinkable. His father has left him.

It is only when the owner of the bed and breakfast hands him a letter that Alem is given an explanation.  Alem’s father admits that because of the political problems in Ethiopia both he and Alem’s mother felt Alem would be safer in London – even though it is breaking their hearts to do this.

Alem is now on his own, in the hands of the social services and the Refugee Council. He lives from letter to letter, waiting to hear from his father, and in particular about his mother, who has now gone missing.


Comments on: "Refugee boy – Benjamin Zephaniah" (8)

  1. Eliza said:

    In the fourth week of lit circles I don’t like this book any more. I think that they rushed the ending because it doesn’t make that much sense. I want Alem to live with his mother and father in Africa because that is where he belongs. I would recommend it to some people. I think that most of my predictions came true because I felt like I knew what would happen because it was predictable. I want there to be another book that shows what happened to Alem after they end of this book. Refugee Boy is funny in some places and really sad in others.


  2. Abbey said:

    I disliked the ending of the book very much. I loved this book so far but the ending just was too quick. I love this book though. The amazing twists and turns and a little boy trying to contain his feeelings. I feel so sorry proud happy and sad for Alem. I really wanted this book to evolve and end greatly. I would reccomend this book to anyone who wants an amazing read! (Just ignore the ending.)


  3. courtdogga said:

    What was with the ending??? it made no sense what so ever. I enjoyed this part of the book except for the last 4 pagers. My prodictions i made half right and half wrong but i’m not saying any more because I no I will give it away. I thought it was fun and enjoyable but the ending…. I’m still trying to understand it. Over all I didn’t really enjoy it but I thought it was fun the whole idea of lit circles. I wouldn’t recomened it because it drages on and on and somethings are a little confusing.


  4. I really enjoyed this book.
    My favourite character was Ruth. She was pretty cool.
    My favourite part was the letters from his dad and when he died.
    I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
    I would recommend it to people who don’t mind a sad story.


  5. I really loved this book. It was very interesting and very hard to predict what would happen next. This book was written well and I was able to put myself in Alem’s Shoes. Every time someone was discussion director they would ask me what I thought would happen next and each time I would say something like Alem will go back to Ethiopia and live happily ever after with his mum and dad. That was never the case. I always thought that Alem would never find friends and be Miserable in London and again this was never the case.

    My most favourite part of the book was when the kids played a practical joke on Alem, although it was mean and a form of bullying, this was very funny and although a bit rude it was hilarious. I liked it that the teacher also had a sense of humour and was able to laugh at a joke like that.

    My least favourite parts of the books were when Alem recieved letters from his father. They were always were the ‘bearer of bad news’ as certain people love to say. Although I thought it was very good that Alem was still hearing from his father.

    If I were in the situation that Alem was in I would be very upset with my parents even though I would know it for the best. I would forgive my parents in the end though.


  6. i really enjoyed this book because it was a sad story but in the end it had a happy ending. Even though this book is fiction this could really happened to some people. I loved this book because Alem the refugee boy was such and gentle and nice character that enjoyed school and all the opportunities that he got. He was thankful of everything everyone did for him and he was such a smart kid. He was lucky that he had so many people to help him through it. I loved the ending because it was sad but also happy. I can’t imagine how it would feel if both my parents were murdered.


  7. I really enjoyed this book because it was a sad book but it also taught you about how different other countries are, Refugee boy is a great book because of all the emotions. I really love this book because it is a great read. If you are into books that are sad but happy at the same time and are really interesting and are un-predictiable i suggest you read it.


  8. I really liked this book because of all the emotions and it really moved me about how strong Alem is and how he keeps working hard at school no matter what is happening at home and how he gets on with his life and many other aspects of Alem (he is my favourite character). If I could change anything I would change that his Dad died because then he could get on with some of his life and forget about the war and how he grew up. My favourite part in the book was when he went to school on the first day and he enjoyed it so much and he made one friend. I can relate these characters in the story to the refugees that have to flee from war and find a safe home. The part I liked least about this book is the way his Dad leaves him at the hotel in England I think this was not nice of them because they should have gone with him unless they didn’t have enough money. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has enough heart not to cry at the end, or anyone who wants insights to what refugees have to go to and why they flee.


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