Genre: Kids, Contemporary, Magic Realism
One day, it brings him a girl. A girl with a bone sparrow charm around her neck. A girl who can come and go as she pleases - an Outside girl.
Subhi and Jimmie (the 'Outside' Australian girl,) bond over stories and a feeling that they can't create sense in the strange world that they live in.
So they create their own corner of calm, where stories seem more real than reality.
I liked that this book didn't shy away from that reality though - the poor conditions the Rohingya are living in, the way they both long for home and fear it, the feeling of hopelessness that pervades in the camp, turning slowly into anger...
I think it's important that books are bold enough to show the roughness of reality, while maintaining the hope and the heart that are shown here.
Do we really need to equate the Rohingya's suffering with that of persecuted white people in order to empathise? Perhaps so. But, if that's the case, we need to take a long hard look at what we're doing in this life.
I would've preferred the story of Subhi's mother - travelling with a small child and another on the way, not sure what was waiting ahead, but hoping that life would be better. Or the tale of Subhi's father, someone Subhi has never met, but hopes to meet one day.