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In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  6,192 ratings  ·  771 reviews
When a ten-year-old boy's village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule, his mother shepherds the boy across the border into Pakistan but has to leave him there all alone to fend for himself. Thus begins Enaiat's remarkable and often punishing five-year ordeal.

When ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari's small village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule in early 2000,
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Hardcover, 215 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Doubleday (first published 2010)
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Eva Nava This is a fairly easy book to read. I'd say from middle school and up.

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Start your review of In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari
Brenda
Based on the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari’s life from the age of around ten until he met Febio Geda and concluded his telling at age twenty one, In the Sea There are Crocodiles is a story of one child’s determination to live; to survive and find somewhere he could call home.

From Afghanistan with his mother, her desertion and his sole journey through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Greece, until finally he arrived in Italy, Enaia’s journey took approximately five years. He found work along the way
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Diane S ☔
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
As a ten year old Enaiatollah lived in a small village in Afghanistan with his family. When Afghanistan falls to Taliban rule in 2000, his mother fearing for his future, takes him across the border into Pakistan and leaves him there. This book was narrated to a reporter who works with displaced youth, so the story is told from the viewpoint of a ten year old boy. In this way the writing is simplistic, but powerful and informing all the same. What this young boy, and others like him managed to do ...more
Sue
The author's note describes the background for the construction of this book and the gradual reconstruction of Enaiatollah Akbari's migration from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and finally, to Italy. The journey started when he was around 10.

"The book is ... based on a true story. But of course
Enaiatollah didn't remember it all perfectly. Together we
painstakingly reconstructed his journey, looking at maps,
consulting Google, trying to create a chronology for his
fragmented mem
...more
Lynda
An extraordinary story of a ten year old Afghan refugee (Enaiatollah) who, via human traffickers, spends over five years of his life moving from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Italy. Based on a true story.

It is a very personal story of life as a refugee and of life-or-death battles and experiences. Superbly written. Fabio Geda beautifully delivers the human experience of Enaiatollah, whose will for survival is more than remarkable. The story also provides insight into just how
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Allie
I'm so glad this book is over. I feel terrible saying that, but it's true.

Enaiat's story is incredible--there is absolutely no doubt about that. His mother drops him off in Pakistan to start his life as an Afghan immigrant because she fears for her son's life. He then travels to Iran, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. He often travels with traffickers in deplorable conditions. His story of being shuffled across borders in the false-bottom of a truck with numerous other children for three days, with on
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Susan (aka Just My Op)
(creative nonfiction?, 3.5/5 stars)

Before his mother abandons him in Pakistan after taking him there to avoid the Taliban in Afghanistan, she gives Enaiatollah Akbari three rules:

1. Never use drugs
2. Never use weapons
3. Don't cheat or steal

That doesn't give a ten-year old (more or less) boy much of a start to find his own way in the world. This book, “based on the true story,” is short, simple, and reads like fiction. Don't expect a big high-level view of politics, of the Taliban, of what is ri
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Beverly
Nov 20, 2011 rated it liked it
• The book had a conversational style and the narrator is charming and not necessarily dwelling on all that is wrong with the world that set him on this journey but always emphasized the positive and the kindness of others that helped him
• I would say this is more YA than adult and would make for a great HS book discussion
• I could not imagine being on my own at 10 yrs old and crossing borders and figure out how to survive in this world
• The narrator feels that his mother gave him a second chanc
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Megan
In the Sea There are Crocodiles – Fabio Geda
Translated from Italian by Howard Curtis

‘If you hold a wish up high, any wish, just in front of your forehead, then life will always be worth living.’
I’m not really sure what I expected from this story. Initially, I was seduced by the cover of the book – whether that was the colour, or the gorgeous eyes of the young person – I am not really sure. Then I read that it was the story of a young boy who had journeyed from Afghanistan through Pakistan, Iran,
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Booknblues
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari, is a short but fascinating story of a ten year old Afghanistan boy's journey from Pakistan to Italy. He was brought to Pakistan by his mother because she feared for his life in Afghanistan. She was unable to stay there with him as she had younger children still in Afghanistan which relied on her, so she gave Akbari the advice which she hoped would lead to his survival.

Akbari was indeed a very resilient child who surv
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Jabiz Raisdana
Another great book about the everyday heroism so many young people deal with in the face of great odds. Books like this are important to remind us that beyond the comfort of our everyday lives, people all over the world persevere beyond what we could ever imagine just to survive and be free. Well-written, this is a captivating story and another important read for students at UWCSEA and beyond. Like Never Fall Down, Boys Without Names and Little Bee, this is a book that you will not believe, but ...more
monique
.

i don't feel comfortable rating this anything but five stars because who am i to judge one boy's life on how easily i can consume it or how much i enjoyed it?

i've never encountered a book like this before- an afghan boy tells an italian author his life story, and the author them writes this novel in the first person with the narrator being the afghan boy himself. it reads like a person simply rambling (but in an impressive linear fashion) about their life, but sometimes they're disrupted by th
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Carole
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is based on the recollections of a refugee, a young man whose mother took him to Pakistan, from their home in Afghanistan, and abandoned him at age 10, without warning, so he might have a brighter future. What a struggle this youngster experienced. Through luck and ingenuity he was able to survive and eventually sneak into Iran, where he could make a subsistence, along with a number of other illegal workers, in construction. He was constantly in danger of deportation back to Pakistan, ...more
Tracey
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens
Shelves: 2011, four-star
This is the novelization of a true story of a boy whose mother smuggled him out of Afghanistan when he was 10 to keep him safe from the Taliban. But then she went back, so it is the story of him, age 10-18, fending for himself, making his way in the world, and making his way from country to country until he eventually settles in Italy. Written in the first person, as if he is telling the reader his life story, it is remarkably matter-of-fact and non-sensationalistic. It is narrated as if this is ...more
Kathrina
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I missed this novel upon its release -- it hasn't received the attention it deserves -- but luckily I have raised a reader who can spot them when I miss them; my 14-year-old recommended this to me. It's the story of an Afghan refugee, surviving racial prejudice, violence, injustice, homelessness and multiple repatriations, all from the age of 10 through 15. The story is told in Enaiat's voice through a sympathetic narrator who (wisely) calls this book a fiction, though it is bas ...more
Barb
I was moved by Enaiatollah Akbari's story, I'm glad that Fabio Geda has recorded it for the sake of history but I wish that Geda had expanded on the details a little more or that I had read this with a companion book on Afghanistan so that I would have had a greater understanding of what daily life was like for Akbari there.

I thought this was a moving story but lacked the details that would have made it a richer reading experience for me. I think it would be an excellent book for the right teac
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Helen
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the age of ten, Enaiatollah Akbari and his mother travelled from Afghanistan to Pakistan. The morning after his mother makes him swear to keep 3 promises about how to live and behave, Enaiatollah wakes up to discover that his mother has left him alone to fend for himself. The book then continues to recount the unforgettable story of his journey to Italy in an attempt to find a safe place to live as an asylum-seeker.
Simply told, utterly compelling and riveting, the book offers much food for th
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Peacegal
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This true story about an Afghan child's incredible will to escape his circumstances and survive is affecting without ever being sentimental or sappy.

CROCODILES would be a great book group choice, especially if you have a book group made up of primarily older folks (ahem) who tend to paint all Middle Eastern people with the same broad brush.
Laurie
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks
4 stars! I really enjoyed this it makes you stop and realize just how fortunate we are here in America. Heartbreaking novel of an Afghanistan child abandoned at the age of 10 by his mother in a country torn by war and his struggle of survival into adulthood.
Vaasanthi
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think this book is amazing as It has so many things that can be really deep and this guy's life was like this. It is amazing to see how our life is. I think this book was a really deep book but was written in a way that we teens can understand it. I hope to read more books like this in the future
Noshin Saiyaara
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Though I'm not a big fan of personal narratives, I found this book incredibly inspiring, full of comical humour and realism. I would recommend this book to people looking for something rather short and sweet, but I think everyone needs to pick this one up and give it a try.
Ali
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, It was a great read and I was so engrossed in it that I thought I was the main charter my self. I highly recommend it.
Sara'la
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews-given
Yeeesss. I love how the prose doesn't interfere with the vivid imagery in this story. The prose is simple, in that it is straightforward - there is no flamboyancy. The narrator sticks with the story of his journey and is determined to keep the distracting details to a minimum, which bring a refreshing, innocent vibe (I'm sure there is an alternative literature term for "vibe" but coming up blank!) to the storytelling. Not too mention it's an incredible true story - the resilience young kids deve ...more
Jim
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Although it ends on a positive note, this troubling account of a young man's odyssey from Afghanistan to Italy starting when he was about 10 is a harrowing tale of survival and determination. it never ceases to amaze me the levels of terrible behavior some can inflict on others, especially against children, for simple greed and hatred. Still, there are some who still provide kindness and aid, and to them go many blessings. Just how many have walked similar paths, it is hard to know, and how many ...more
Alice
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Sadly, nothing stuck out or engaged me in this book. Given the importance of telling these stories, there always space for new ones, but this one feels like something I’ve already read between the pages of The Kite Runner and Afghan non-fiction.
Unlike other refugees’ recounts, this one didn’t draw me in or get me attached to the fleeing main character. This is probably due to Geda’s bland narration, which really doesn’t enrich Enaiat’s disadventures. The author keeps the reader at a distance as
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Megan
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This story is one of determination, not only to live but to find life. The journey taken to find life is breathtaking and emphasizes the need for humanity and kindness to all, for you don't know what someone else has experienced.
Ron Charles
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Errant boys have been running through our nation’s best novels for a long time. Hemingway famously declared that “all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called ‘Huckleberry Finn’,” and whether you agree with that or not, boys — and men who still act like them — demand a lot of attention in our canon. But this summer, the kids lighting out for the territory come from Africa and the Middle East, and their journeys will take you somewhere entirely different.

Enaiatollah Akb
...more
Sandie
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fabio Geda is an Italian novelist who works with children in trouble. In The Sea There Are Crocodiles is his book detailing the memoir of Enaiatollah Akbari, an Afhganistian young man who, after years of being on his own and facing obstacles many people never encounter, became an immigrant in Italy.

When Enaiatollah was about ten (he is not sure of his birthday or exact age), his mother took him on a trip to Pakistan. After a few days he awoke one morning to find her gone. She had gone back home,
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Chris Blocker
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
When approaching a story, an author has to make many choices. Sometimes, there is a choice to be made with two clear options; no matter which the author chooses, doubt is sure to snare the reader: wouldn't it have been better if...?

Such a problem may be facing Fabio Geda's In the Sea There Are Crocodiles. In the Sea... is “based on the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari.” Akbari, who is most often referred to in the novel as Enaiat, was taken across the border of his home in Afghanistan into Pakis
...more
Shirley
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wrote this review and then went back and changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars. I really liked this book which is the story told by an Afghan boy whose mother was able to get him out of a dangerous situation in his homeland, only for him to find himself alone in Pakistan which was also dangerous. He is on the run for 5 years before finally finding a safe spot. His story is the all-too-common story of the child refugee. I felt it would be a good book for a young teen to read to develop a sensitiv ...more
Betty-Anne
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
In 2000, when Enaiatollah Akbari was ten years old, his mother took him from their home in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, over the border into Pakistan, and ultimately left him there. This seeming act of abandonment was in fact a desperate attempt to hopefully save the life of her second child. His mother felt he had become too big to hide from the Taliban who targeted families in their area, mostly for being Hazara.

Enaiat had to learn to fend for himself over the next five years, traveling fro
...more
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Born in Turin in 1972, Fabio Geda is an Italian novelist who works with children in difficulties. He writes for several Italian magazines and newspapers, and teaches creative writing in the most famous Italian school of storytelling (Scuola Holden, in Turin). IN THE SEA THERE ARE CROCODILES is his first book to be translated into English.

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“Facts are important, the story is important. It's what happens to you that changes your life, not where or who with.” 6 likes
“Ha detto: “Tre cose che non devi fare nella vita, Enait jan, per nessun motivo. La prima è usare le droghe. Ce ne sono che hanno un odore e un sapore buono e i sussurrano alle orecchie che sapranno farti stare meglio di come potrai mai stare senza di loro. Ma tu non devi credergli. Lo prometti?”
“Promesso”
“La seconda è usare le armi. Anche se qualcuno ti tratterà male, o ti insulterà, promettimi che la tua mano non si stringerà mai attorno a un coltello, a una pietra e neppure intorno a un mestolo di legno per il qhorma palaw, se qul mestolo di legno serve a ferire un uomo. Lo prometti?”
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“La terza è rubare. Ciò che è tuo ti appartiene, ciò che non è tuo no. I soldi che ti servono li guadagnerai lavorando, anche se il lavoro sarà faticoso. E non trufferai mai nessuno. Enait jan, vero? Sarai ospitale e tollerante con tutti. Promettimi che lo farai”
“Promesso”
Poi ha alzato lo sguardo in direzione della finestra, e ha cominciato a parlare di sogni senza smettere di solleticarmi il collo. Di sogni come la luna, alla cui luce è possibile mangiare, la sera. E di desideri, che un desiderio bisogna sempre averlo davanti agli occhi, come un asino una carota. Che se un desiderio, qualunque sia, lo si tiene in alto, a una spanna dalla fronte, allora di vivere varrà sempre la pena.
Quando mi sono addormentato, lei stava ancora parlando.
La mattina dopo è partita.”
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