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No Safe Place

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  431 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

Orphaned and plagued with the grief of losing everyone he loves, fifteen-year-old Abdul has made a long, fraught journey from his war-torn home in Baghdad, only to end up in The Jungle -- the squalid, makeshift migrant community in Calais.

When an altercation at the soup kitchen ends up with him accidently stabb
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Groundwood Books (first published August 24th 2010)
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Half Brother by Kenneth OppelHaunting Violet by Alyxandra HarveyDear George Clooney by Susin NielsenNo Safe Place by Deborah EllisHome Truths by Jill MacLean
Red Maple Nominations 2012
4th out of 10 books — 19 voters
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomerySubmarine Outlaw by Philip RoyFranklin Goes to School by Paulette BourgeoisGreat-Grandma's Gifts by Marianne   JonesThe Gryphon Project by Carrie Mac
Canadian Children's Books
142nd out of 263 books — 34 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 905)
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Levi Erdmann
Oct 20, 2015 Levi Erdmann rated it really liked it
The plot of this novel is very interesting. It starts off with a boy named Abdul who wants to cross into England and be free. His entire family is dead and he is forced to stay with his uncle who treats him badly. He ends up running away and has to eat in a homeless shelter on his way to Iraq. He gets to the border of the Mediterranean Sea and pays a smuggler to get him to England. He and 4 others load onto a small skiff and try to go to England. They knock the smuggler out of the skiff and are ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Izzy rated it really liked it
No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis is a great action, adventure book. Three teenagers go on a journey trying to get to England, but they have to cross the English Channel. In this book the author puts you in their place, homeless teenaggers looking for a place that they can live, and a better life.

Three teenagers Abdul, Rosalia, and Cheslav go on an adventure to England but somehow meet each other along the way. They all have the same problem, they need to cross the English channel for different rea
Oct 30, 2014 Rll50214_rachelschwartz rated it it was amazing
No Safe Place shares Abdul's journey from Iraq to England. Abdul, a fifteen year old Iraqi, is an orphan whose father and brothers were killed in Iraq by American bombs in 2003. Two years later, his mother was driving him and an orphaned neighbor, Fatima, when two men shot and killed her for driving a car. The story begins in Calais, where Abdul gets caught in a riot while attempting to get food. He stabs a policeman and starts to run.
Eventually, Abdul begins his voyage out of Calais and gets o
Feb 24, 2012 Zach rated it it was amazing
Im reading no safe place By Deborah Ellis it is abought three outlaws who meet trying to start their new lives.I do not know how she came up with the book but it was fantastic!

My opinion is that it was a fantastic read I loved how the book would flash to their lives as kids and how they got there. All three of the main charactors were wanted by the cops but when stuck on a boat heading to thier new lives they got to know their painfull backstories Abduls was on pg 47-52 72-80 rosilies was on pg9
Dijah Musah-McLean
Mar 20, 2012 Dijah Musah-McLean rated it really liked it
The novel NO SAFE PLACE by, Deborah Ellis is an amazing read.

The story takes place in Calais, where Abdul,a young teenage migrant roams the streets .Devastating events have cost him his family, and friends when he lived in his old country. Though now he can escape to a better place, away from all the war and disaster. To England. He meets with a smuggler who claims he can take him and others there on his boat. Where Abdul meets with two other migrants who both possess the same dream of going to
Oct 16, 2014 Lesley rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! Definitely a page turner; I couldn't put it down, and yes, I finished this book in 2 days. "No Safe Place" is about a young boy named Abdul, without parents, trying to find a safe place to live. He goes on many different adventures and meets new people. I definitely recommend this book to people who find it difficult to read since this book is so easy to read while being extremely amusing.
Dec 01, 2014 Rll52014_mollyharris rated it it was amazing
This work of realistic fiction by Deborah Ellis tells the story of three young people who are trying to illegally cross the borfer from France into England. There backgrounds are culturally mixed: Abdul is a fifteen year old Kurdish boy from Baghdad, Chreschav is fourteen year old from Russia, and Rosalia is a fourteen year old Roma girl who struuggles to identify with a "homeland", as she has moved so frequently. Each of these young people is escaping from something, and their stories are rveal ...more
1. I chose “No safe place” because I like reading stories about the war and knowing what all different countries had to do to escape the war and survive. I had just read a book that was by Deborah Ellis called “On two feet and wings” and it was about the Iran Iraq war, I really liked it and wanted to read something similar. I asked one of my teachers if she knows any book about escaping the war and they had shown me the book “No safe place”. I read the blurb and instantly felt that I had to read ...more
Anna Ryan-Punch
Aug 31, 2014 Anna Ryan-Punch rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-childrens
This review originally appeared in Viewpoint: On Books for Young Adults.

Deborah Ellis’ No Safe Place follows the fortunes of four refugee children who are thrown together in their desperate bid to escape horrific circumstances. Abdul, 15, has been orphaned by the war in Iraq and is living rough in France while he tries to secure illegal passage to England. His life in Calais is violent, dangerous and miserable; he survives on the one meal a day provided by charity and guards his precious roll of
Ilsa Bick
Dec 06, 2010 Ilsa Bick rated it liked it
If you've followed headlines at all, you know that refugees from various parts of the world go through hell, and a bunch are kids. Ellis's short contemporary follows three orphans--one each from Iraq, Russia and Roma--thrust together purely by chance and circumstance. The plot follows their flight and unlikely friendship. The writing is very spare and a little understated, which is somewhat problematic. More mature, socially-aware teens will probably find this a tad simplistic, and there have be ...more
Erin Dwan
Nov 16, 2013 Erin Dwan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
No Safe Place is an important book. Ellis offers a glimpse into a world that we as a society are otherwise oblivious to. This book places a name and a face to the countless middle-eastern children whose lives the war destroyed, these people who are all but hopeless.

Enter Abdul, a fifteen year old with just a dream and a gold medallion. His story, as are those of the other children he befriends on his way to England, is riveting and horrifyingly real. Ellis' depiction of life in Calais provides a
E. Anderson
Oct 20, 2010 E. Anderson rated it really liked it
I’ve talked on this blog about how books can make us feel like global citizens. I love that about books, and I love books that, despite stark, real, and sometimes sad depictions of real life in other parts of the world, let me live in other peoples’ shoes for a while.

I picked up NO SAFE PLACE by Deborah Ellis last week and absolutely couldn’t put it down.

It’s the story of Abdul, a Kurdish refugee from Iraq. At fifteen years old he has already lost most of his loved ones to war and terror, and ha
Abdul is an illegal immigrant from Iraq who seeks to go to England in search of a better place to live after his father and brothers were killed by the bombings of 2003 and his mother's death at the cause of a religious militant.
Cheslav is a Russian who is also an illegal immigrant, who escaped from the Army Cadet Music School in Moscow, where he wanted to escape and go to Australia where his mother had eloped.
Rosalia is a Jew whose grandfather escaped the Nazis, and Rosalia was transferred t
Aug 30, 2012 Louise rated it it was amazing
Story Decription:

Groundwood Books Ltd|September 1, 2010|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-88899-974-0

Recommended for ages 14 and up – 208 pages.

Finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award

Orphaned and plagued with the grief of losing everyone he loved, fifteen-year-old Abdul has made a long, fraught journey from his war-torn home in Baghdad, only to end up in The Jungle – the squalid, makeshift migrant community in Calais, France.

When an altercation at the soup kitchen ends up with
Ryan H.
Nov 01, 2012 Ryan H. rated it really liked it
Ryan Hogan 4 B/D
Book Review Due Date: 10/31/12
For my book review, I read No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis. The copyright is 2010, and the genre is realistic fiction. This book is a rather pessimistic book, with not many “happy” parts or bright moments. The book is mainly about young immigrants that are forced to make tough choices in order to escape from their rough, violent or war torn native countries and seek better lives in other rich countries.. The main character is Abdul, a fifteen year ol
Sep 24, 2010 Jean rated it really liked it
Deborah Ellis has a gift for telling the stories of children who are living in difficult, dangerous situations. In this one she tells the story of four young people, thrown together by chance, trying to escape from Calais to a better life in England. Throughout the journey we learn their stories and the circumstances of their lives that brought them to the breaking point. Ellis focuses on Abdul as the main character. He has been orphaned and has escaped from Baghdad and the horrors of war and re ...more
Deborah Abela
Mar 23, 2011 Deborah Abela rated it it was amazing
Deborah Ellis has a style that is simple and direct but when you have read her stories, you feel as if you’ve been transported to a rich but often dangerous place that thankfully a lot of us will never know. No Safe Place revolves around three children on the run. Abdul from Iraq, Cheslav from Russia and Rosalia is Roma who doesn’t have a country to call her own. All three have escaped brutal childhoods with inexplicable cruelties and are now on the run to a better life. They meet in Calais late ...more
Raj P
Mar 22, 2012 Raj P rated it really liked it
Abdul is 13 years old and has been in the united kingdom as a immigrant. Abdul came to the unite kingdom because of his country is in war with the united states. After coming to the UK he meets a girl from russia named cheslav's. there was a another girl from UK named Rosalia. They all saved eat other lives at least once. They all were in the same troubles and sometimes came to death.

In the book No safe place by Deborah Ellis i liked the parts where Abdul, Cheslav's, and Rosalia always helped e
Feb 26, 2016 Jeev1017 rated it liked it
4 teens, different stories, one destination!! No Safe place is 4 teens who come from different places and past experiences. All of them try to escape their past by traveling to England, hoping to find a better future and leaving the past behind them. The author really brought out a bitter message in his writing, but the support and story of this book was extremely eye-opening. Thank you Deborah Ellis.
Feb 04, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
This book is great!
This book is told in the eye of a arab boy named Abdul and Abdul has lost everyone he knew so now he sets on a journey to England to find a home. Now on the last part of the journey there he is stranded on the boat in the middle of the channel with a Roma girl named Rosalia, a Russian named Cheslav and a young English boy named Jonah. They become fast friends and they face the hardships of being stranded on the boat in the middle of the channel together.
I picked this book up b
Jake Shockley
Mar 11, 2015 Jake Shockley rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book due to the style that the author (Deborah Ellis) wrote in. The story has sections of flashbacks that slowly begin to explain each characters rough past, and how they ended up in there homeless situation in the first place. Therefore the story kept me very interested for the majority of it. Overall I'd rate the book a 3.5/5 stars just because of the story's ending.
Bill H.
Dec 17, 2014 Bill H. rated it liked it
Tightly plotted with good backgrounds for major teen characters seeking to get to England where they imagine a new start might be possible--an Iraqi Kurd, an orphaned Russian, a Roma (gypsy) girl who escapes sex slavery in Germany. Major plot situation involves the three, with others, adrift in the English Channel when their motor conks out. Young adult reading level.
Stone He
Dec 27, 2012 Stone He rated it really liked it
This story is about three teenage illegal immigrants trying to get to England. They boarded a boat from a smuggler at the north coast of France to reach England. But as soon as they boarded, they got lost in the sea after they threw the smuggler overboard after he was abusing his nephew assistant. Although they managed to get on the private yacht that they managed to trade for with the bags of heroin in the boat, they still have to face the patrols and the directions to England.
I decided to re
Lindsey Jones
This was my first encounter with Ellis's work, and I will certainly be back for more! If only this had ended differently, I would have considered 4 stars! I thoroughly enjoyed this book until the last 20 pages. It brings to light the true struggles of children around the world, exposed to war, sex crimes, immigration issues. The stories of these teens are heart breaking and help readers to be more understanding of cultural differences and backgrounds. It's an important read and a story that need ...more
Dec 14, 2011 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Deborah Ellis is a master storyteller, that's for sure. But this is a relentlessly grim story. I expect a lot more sadness before an unhappy ending.

Okay, I finished the book. It is sad, but "sad" isn't the best word to describe the book. Better words would be "exciting, violent, thought-provoking." I am not kidding about the violence. Some young adult readers may want to stop reading all together if the book feels too rough.

In the end, I liked all the characters. I cared about them. It seemed to
Feb 06, 2015 Tasha rated it liked it
This book was okay. I liked how Deborah Ellis puts herself in other peoples shoes. I like to read mystery books or books that will keep me on my toes. This book certainly did not keep me on my toes and it was predictable. I would only recommend this book to people who have been in similar situations or people that like to read sad books.
El Templo
Ningún lugar es seguro para los que no tiene papeles, para los que tienen que cruzar la frontera en frágiles botes luchando contra la corriente, para los que llegan a un país buscando una vida mejor y siguen pasando penalidades. Ningún lugar es seguro para Abdul, Rosalía y Cheslav y por eso los tres arriesgarán todo lo que tienen, sus vidas incluidas, para cruzar la frontera y llegar a Inglaterra.

Abdul huye de la guerra en su país natal, Iraq; Rosalía, una joven romaní, escapa de las mafias de p
May 25, 2013 Rll595ag_fabiolaginski rated it it was amazing
A gripping book, whose raw and vivid descriptions show the ugly side of illegal immigration in modern day Europe. Through her writing, though the account is fictional, the author sheds light onto the brutalities of war and social injustice, and in doing so she teaches us about the unfair treatment of many young people around the world. Teachers should be aware that the author does not shy away from tackling difficult and unpleasant subjects such as sexual slavery, xenophobia and racism. Although ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Randy rated it liked it
Shelves: red-maple, ya
Three teenagers with three stories from three different countries end up on a boat trying to make its way across the English Channel. As they move forward, their background leading to the predicament in which they find themselves, becomes more clear. Abdul, Cheslav and Rosalia have no one on whom to depend. They have been trying too hard to survive on their own. Will England offer them refuge?

I picked this book up because it is a 2012 Red Maple nominee and I have liked the previous books that De
Jan 12, 2011 Bec rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book this will be.

I was sent it so that I could write teachers notes for the lovely people at A&U, and as I was reading I was notebook in hand, scribbling away all the marvelous phrases that Deborah Ellis uses to describe the lives and experiences of the refugees fleeing their homes in search of a new beginning in England.

The characters in this book have experienced such struggles, and yet it never becomes a tiresome or depressing read. Certainly there is a sadness to it, and
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abdul 3 5 Mar 14, 2012 02:43PM  
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Deborah Ellis has achieved international acclaim with her courageous and dramatic books that give Western readers a glimpse into the plight of children in developing countries.

She has won the Governor General's Award, Sweden's Peter Pan Prize, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California's Middle East Book Award, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award.

A long-t
More about Deborah Ellis...

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