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The Bone Sparrow

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  1,055 Ratings  ·  299 Reviews
Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother's stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
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Graham yes, as long as you are prepared to hold her during the times when she cries, and have the resources to help her fulfil her firey passion for changing…moreyes, as long as you are prepared to hold her during the times when she cries, and have the resources to help her fulfil her firey passion for changing the world(less)
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Community Reviews

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Lola  Reviewer
THE BONE SPARROW so needed to be written.

And I’m ashamed of that. I’m ashamed of our species; that we can show such cruelty toward refugees and asylum seekers.

For once, I wish I could have said that there are million books like this one, and we’re so aware of the way refugees and asylum seekers are treated that we put a stop to such dark detention centers years ago.

But that is not the case. So thank you Miss Fraillon for taking the time to write this revelatory, touching and lyrical novel.

Cait (Paper Fury)
Oh this book was the best possible way. It's super easy to live in oblivion if you have a privileged life in Australia...but omg. The refugee crisis literally makes me feel ill. This book is all about refugees and asylum seekers and the horrendous way they're treated. It's pretty tough going. It also made me want to cry. SO THERE IS THAT. Omg, why why why is our world so broken??? I just don't get it sometimes. There are people out there who are dying and being murdered and they as ...more
“But if the world measures a refugee according to the worst story, we will always excuse human suffering, saying it is not yet as bad as someone else's.”

----Victoria Armour-Hileman

Zana Fraillon, an Australian author, has penned a heart breaking and thoroughly compelling tale about refugees in her latest book, The Bone Sparrow that is centered around a young refugee boy living his days with his mother and his elder sister in an Australian detention camp where he spends his days helping his orp
Jun 15, 2016 Tara rated it it was amazing

This book was devastating and enlightening and delightful all at once. The story follows two very different young children, as they discover more of the world through their friendship with each other. From the moment I met Subhi, a young refugee born in an Australian detention centre, I knew that his story would be heartbreaking. And it definitely was.

If you want to learn more about the refugee situation and how asylum seek
There are not enough stars to give “The Bone Sparrow.” Even a thousand would be insufficient.

Subhi, the main character, is a child born inside an Australian detention camp to a Burmese refugee. The way the story progresses is a work of art, with the reader taking the journey with Subhi as he grows to realize the only world he has ever known is not at all normal or fair. It’s a painful path to take with him. There are occasional chapters written in third person about the life of Jimmie, a girl fr
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
Trigger warnings: this book follows the story of refugees in a detention centre, so...PTSD, mistreatment by guards, murder, hunger strikes, self harm, and a multitude of other things.

This book was veeeeeeeeeeery slow to start for me. The first...50-75 pages was a serious struggle and it reminded me a lot of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, seeing as it was narrated from the perspective of a ten year old who had very little understanding of the broader situation going on around him.

But then, wit
May 27, 2017 Fred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: carnegie-2017
I was pleasantly surprised by this - I really really enjoyed it! This received four stars out of five from me and I thought it was an absolutely brilliant read.
It's set in an Australian refugee camp; it follows a boy named Subhi who lives there with his sister Queeny and his mother and all we know about their past so far is that Subhi has been born there so he's lived in the camp all his life and the two girls fled from their homeland far away. It focuses on imagination; it focuses on refugee li
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
YOU KNOW YOU'RE READING A BRILLIANTLY HEARTBREAKING BOOK WHEN YOU'RE SOBBING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. This is such a powerful book that needs to be read by EVERYONE for awareness of what's going on in refugee camps.
L.P. Logan
Whoa, talk about giving someone a massive dose of perspective. This book ladles out that and then some.

Imagine being born in a refugee camp . . . and then living there for the entire 12 years of your existence. You never know anything outside of the chainlink fences, you never know anything of nature and vitality, and as the Subhi laments, the only means through which you can create your own memories of something else is by listening to the stories of others. Such a sad, sad existence and one t
Dec 10, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I may or may not have cried all the way through the ending. Please read this. It's such a wonderful story filled with the realities of the world
Jun 08, 2017 Mahriya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

And I honestly think that. This is one of the stories that basically everyone must read. And it's not because it's fantabulous and wonderful and all the other 'good' stuff you find in a book, it's because it's a book that will show you the true horror going on by fences (that always have weak points, in case you didn't know)

And I wish this book didn't exist because it really shouldn't. We shouldn't have to read books about people who live in horrible con
Lisa Simmons
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Yes, I now have a much more vivid image of how wrong conditions in refugee camps can be (this one in Australia) and an awareness of more of the ethnic Burmese minorities. The last couple chapters were a dramatic ending that were exciting, sad and I didn't fully see coming.
But overall the pacing was slow and I mostly didn't connect with the characters (I did like Eli). Full disclosure -- I typically am turned off by characters who talk to an inanimate o
The Bone Sparrow revolves around the life of Subhi, a refugee born in an Australian permanent detention centre. Having never stepped foot outside of the fence, Subhi has no idea what life could be like. No matter if he has never known a life behind he fences, his world is bigger than the fences. When he meets Jimmie, a young girl from the Outside who needs someone to read her late mother's stories, he offers to help her.

The Bone Sparrow is a captivating book. It brings light to a situation t
Jul 29, 2016 Layla rated it really liked it
The Bone Sparrow was a captivating book about life in an Australia Immigration Detention Centre. A boy named Subhi is a refugee born in the Centre and all that his life consisted of was being behind fences. He has an imagination larger than himself. Life in the Centre is dull and boring and the one thing that keeps everyone from giving up is the memories and stories from the past. Subhi doesn’t have any other memories than the Centre so he needs other peoples, to realise what life was and what i ...more
Dec 10, 2016 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful story, written very well and very moving. A timely story of refugees and the horrific treatment they receive in custody in the lands they go to hoping for an improvement in their lives. This is the story of a young boy of Burmese descent who was born in a detention centre, this is his misery filled life and a grim picture of life in a refugee camp. It is also the story of a young girl who lives near the centre, she is a character, a rebel and full of wildness and good humour ...more
Jan 01, 2017 Huriyah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review from my blog, SugarQuills.

I was sent The Bone Sparrow by the publisher for an honest review.

The Bone Sparrow is a fictional story but the refugee camp conditions described by Zana Fraillon were from real Australian detention centre reports.

The story is told through the eyes of ten-year-old Subhi, who was born in an Australian refugee camp. The camp ‘shelters’ Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, who have escaped from one hell hole only to end up in another. Again, this is not a fictional issue,
Apr 02, 2017 Kittyzer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es ist traurig, dass in der heutigen Zeit immer noch auf die schreckliche Behandlung der Flüchtlinge und einiger Völker hingewiesen werden muss. Absolut wichtiges, erschütterndes Buch.
Apr 07, 2017 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jayne Catherine pinkett
Jan 29, 2017 Jayne Catherine pinkett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diversity
Not sure how I can put into words at the moment. This book grips your heart.
Jacob Head
Jun 04, 2017 Jacob Head rated it really liked it
A very moving and relevant tale. Although it is fictional, it still hits hard.
Jacquelyn Pace
May 29, 2016 Jacquelyn Pace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I first took an interest in this book because it was being compared to "A Long Walk to Water" and I'm so grateful that I gave this novel a chance. At first, it was a little difficult to get into; Fraillon tells the story of Subhi, a refugee in an Australian detention center, primarily through the eyes of Subhi so the language is at times child-like, disjointed and simplistic. I eventually grew to love that way of writing and felt like it offered so much to the story itself. What I loved even mor ...more
One of the marks of a great children's book, I think, is a voice that can speak across generations and to any age group. 'The Bone Sparrow', I hope, will certainly be a book that does just that, and it really deserves to be remembered and cherished for a long, long time. It's an important, powerful little story, one that takes the complicated mess of politics and bureaucratic arguing, and whittles it all down to the simple questions: 'why is it illegal for people to try and save their families? ...more
Rosanne Hawke
Jul 15, 2016 Rosanne Hawke rated it really liked it
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
I began this book with much anticipation as it had the makings of a novel I knew I would respect and enjoy: good writing, a different way of seeing and speaking, the refugee plight, detention centre etc. So I don’t know why it took so long to read and to capture my passion. It is important to tell this story, but at times it felt like a litany of complaints rather than a story. I wondered if less would have brought more empathy sooner. The lack of Subhi’s backgro
Suzanne Rooyen
Dec 16, 2016 Suzanne Rooyen rated it it was amazing
It's really hard to rate a book like this when the subject matter is so devastating and infuriating. I had only just learned about the Rohingya people and their plight when I picked up this book. It is eye-opening, to say the least.

This book is beautifully written with MG characters I absolutely adored. The voice is perfect and hinted at some extremely dark content without becoming too graphic or explicit - kudos to the author for packing a punch in such a delicate way.

There are however a few vi
Books, Vertigo and Tea (Danielle)
Aug 22, 2016 Books, Vertigo and Tea (Danielle) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone.
The Bone Sparrow is endearing, gripping, and heart wrenching from beginning to end. Told through the eyes of a 10 year old boy born within the confines of an Australian refugee detention center as he develops an incredible friendship with a young girl from "outside", the author exposes you to the reality of a topic still very relevant.

Full review here.
La La
4.5 on my blog. This book made me extremely emotional. It is three stories in one really. It is beautiful and fanciful in parts and cruelly realistic in others. It is skillfully wrought. My head and heart are swimming in feelings right now. Full blog review to follow. I will add the link when it is posted.

I was approved for an eARC, via Netgalley, in return for an honest review.
Aug 08, 2016 Zohal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poignant read.

It feels like a unique cross between The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Stories in the Dark.
Saturday's Child
A novel that needs to be read.
Jun 04, 2017 Oliver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zana Fraillon’s The Bone Sparrow is not a true story, but the circumstances used to support the narrative are all too real. Embarrassingly, I was only vaguely aware of the 2015 Rohingya Refugee Crisis before a coworker gifted this book to me, so after I finished the book I did a few hours of research online. So, here’s a quick summary, based on The Council on Foreign Relations’ website: The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in Myanmar who are denied many rights, such as citizenship, freedom of reli ...more
May 17, 2017 Tuuli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, helmet-2017
'I need these stories. Everyone else in here has memories to hold on to. Everyone else has things to think on to stop them getting squashed down to nothing. But I don't have memories of anywhere else, and all these days just squish into the same. I need their stories. I need them to make my memories.'

The Bone Sparrow (my first loan from the local library!) is a story of Subhi, a ten-year old Rohingya refugee boy who was born in an Australian refugee centre and has never seen anything else. He'
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Zana Fraillon was born in Melbourne, but spent her early childhood in San Francisco.

Zana has written two picture books for young children, a series for middle readers, and a novel for older readers based on research and accounts of survivors of the Forgotten Generation. She spent a year in China teaching English and now lives in Melbourne with her three sons, husband and two dogs.

When Zana isn't
More about Zana Fraillon...

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“To those who refuse to be blinded by the glare, or deafened by the hush, who are brave enough to question, and curious enough to explore. To those who will not forget. You will make a difference. And to the rest of us, so that we may learn how.” 4 likes
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