Emilee Bell


Outstanding, Intermediate, Young Adult, Muslims, Refugees, Syria, War, Kurds

Document Type

Book Review


The last we see of Ghalib and his Kurdish-Syrian family’s flight from air raids, ISIS, and desperation is on the crowded shore of Greece. In fact, this is often how Westerners see the refugee story: a direct line from bombs to asylum in Europe or the United States. However, Mitchell weaves a tale strife with the humanities of pain, joy, family, dreams, youth, age, desperation, emotion, and culture. Ghalib, full of insecurities and curiosity, finds that leaving behind the war isn’t as simple as it seems. “Take only what you can carry” includes his disabled little brother. “Refugee” means his mother, sister, and grandmother must cover their faces and be treated as less than equal because of the terrorist controls. Ultimately, Ghalib’s escape from Syria is not the end of the danger which came to his family.