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Out by Angela May George and Owen Swan

Out: a child lies in a boat in the oceanA review by Emma Streeton

I’m called an asylum seeker; but that’s not my name. Out tells the story of a little girl who flees her homeland, making a long and frightening boat journey with her mother to seek asylum in a new country. Starting a new life is challenging, but they work hard to create a new home. Told from the little girl’s point of view, the story is heartbreaking yet triumphant.

“I’ve seen horrible things, they’ve shown me what it is to be brave. Brave is waiting and believing in your heart everything will be okay.”

Reaction of my bookworm

“I love that book, I read it at school,” my bookworm bellowed at me when I presented this book to her as our next joint reading venture. She proceeded to jump right in and tell me what the story is all about. This alone immediately highlighted that this is a book that stays in a child’s memory and makes quite an impression on young readers. She told me it was a story that made her both sad and happy. After she read it aloud to me, I must say I completely concur.

My thoughts

This is a great book to share with young children to discuss the very important issue of asylum seekers and refugees. It is a simple text but each page has enough narrative and illustrations to fill you in on the major events of the story.  I like the fact that there is also enough scope to allow the reader to imagine their own extra details and this is certainly what my bookworm did. This story enables grown up and young readers to discuss why people must leave their home countries, why families are forced to separate but also how they can enjoy a new life and a new culture. Empathy is a quality worth role modelling to our children in bucket loads and this book certainly enables this teaching to happen.

Conclusion

This book, and others like it, are very important. Out is certainly a story that can create great discussions with young children. Set at a perfect level for primary aged children, Out reveals enough detail to highlight what the little girl has been through without going into aspects that would make the story too upsetting. Out is a great read to foster empathy for the plight of asylum seekers and refugees. Maybe have some tissues at the ready!

Scholastic has published free teaching resources and Lamont books has published resources. Out won the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year award. Angela May George is an Australian woman writer.

Book details

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
ISBN: 9781743629000
Imprint: Scholastic Press (Scholastic Australia)
Format: paperback, 32 pages
Category: children, social issues

Nalini
Nalinihttps://www.darkmatterzine.com
Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.

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