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Illegal

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  6,458 ratings  ·  1,246 reviews

This is a powerful and timely story about one boy's epic journey across Africa to Europe, a graphic novel for all children with glorious colour artwork throughout. From Eoin Colfer, previously Irish Children's Laureate, and the team behind his bestselling Artemis Fowl graphic novels.

Ebo: alone.

His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo kn

...more
Kindle Edition, 144 pages
Published October 5th 2017 by Hodder Children's Books (first published October 4th 2017)
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Manu I'm not sure about traumatizing, that probably depends on age and preparedness of the reader. (Violent) Death is certainly a topic that doesn't get ex…moreI'm not sure about traumatizing, that probably depends on age and preparedness of the reader. (Violent) Death is certainly a topic that doesn't get excluded. It is depicted more than once, but never too graphic. Still, the images of it could be upsetting.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,458 ratings  ·  1,246 reviews


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Malia
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a short book and though I wished some parts were a bit more fleshed out, it is worth reading! I also think the graphic novel format would make important subject matter more accessible to students, if this were used in school. The story of the refugee is not a new one, but it has been in the news a lot these past few years. This makes it important, I think, to consider the individual stories of these people who are desperate to leave their homeland for whatever reason. I did think the boo ...more
Chad
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, edelweiss
Ebo is a young boy in Africa whose parents are dead, his sister has already made it to Europe and his brother has just left this morning. So he sets out on a journey to find his brother and make it to Europe. Along the way, he has to cross the Sahara desert, avoid soldiers, and cross the Mediterranean on a dinghy.

This is a gripping, harrowing tale. I found myself holding tight to the arm of my chair as I rooted Ebo on, not knowing if he was going to live or die. Ebo is a joyful, determined soul
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Zitong Ren
Ok, so, well, I enjoyed this. I don’t generally read a lot of graphic novels. In fact, I don’t remember picking up a graphic novel until January last year, which was Heartstopper by Alice Oseman which is completely different in nature to this. In fact, the graphic novels I have read have largely been fairly wholesome tales, and this naturally wasn’t that. Instead, it details the journey of a young boy Ebo, who is just twelve years old and his journey from Niger to Italy. It really is quite a bi ...more
Diane
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those stories that stays with you for days after you've finished reading it.

"Illegal" is the story of a boy in Africa who leaves his home in a desperate attempt to make it to Europe. Our hero is Ebo, who doesn't have any papers and who is always worried about being picked up by the police. Ebo's dangerous journey starts by chasing after his older brother, and both boys hope to eventually find their sister somewhere in Europe. Their journey involves a perilous trip across the Sahar
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Alice (Married To Books)
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, read-in-2019
This is a powerful graphic novel, told in both the past and present-day and following young Ebo. He lives in Africa and like his siblings, he dreams of a better life in Europe. First, he plans to find his older brother and meet up, before making the dangerous crossing by boat towards Italy. The illustrations were powerful and very poignant. It was harsh but very realistic. For younger readers, this may be better read together with an older reader due to the subject content.
Catherine Stormblessed
“Every year, many thousands of men, women, and children risk their lives by trying to make the dangerous three-hundred-mile sea crossing between northern Africa and Italy. They pay large sums of money to smugglers who in return provide poorly prepared, unseaworthy boats. The distances involved are formidable and the sea currents are unpredictable. The smuggling networks that run these operations make fortunes with no regard for human life. They send their victims out to see in death traps.”
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I do
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Amina
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ebo's sister Sisi made it from Africa to Europe, when he realises his brother Kwame also left, Ebo undertakes a journey to reunite with his siblings. And what a journey...
This story is, unfortunately, an everyday reality for a lot of people who try by any means and at any cost to leave their country to a better place and a better future.
It was a suffocating, heart wrenching, sad story about hope, cruelty, loss and humanity.
...more
Skip
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
12 year-old Ebo realizes that his older brother, Kwame, has left their village in Ghana to go to Europe where their older sister, Sisi, headed several months ago, and decides to follow. This graphic novel is pretty graphic about the plight of refugees as Ebo has three arduous trips: first to get to the big city by himself to find Kwame, then to cross the arid Sahara desert to get to Tripoli, and finally, to find a seaworthy vessel to cross the dangerous waters of the Mediterranean. Unlike other ...more
Rod Brown
Sick day! Chest cold and laryngitis. Time to rest, read, and review.

The European migrant crisis becomes fodder for a generic dramatized graphic novel by what looks like a bunch of European white guys. Hmm. There was an over-reliance on coincidence and having a split time-line throughout much of the book took away a lot of the dramatic tension of the desert sequences, as we know who makes it to the boat later in the story's chronology.

A happy ending is slapped on, but I feel the protagonist's pr
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Beth
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I was very excited to read this book, and when it was chosen as a Powell's Pick, that increased my excitement. I read it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy, and...I have mixed feelings.

I think it's an important story, particularly considering the current atmosphere around the word "illegal" as applied to any group of people. I think that it will be an important piece in having conversations - particularly with young people - around this heated topic. However, I have reservations.

The stor
...more
Vishy
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered 'Illegal' when I was browsing in the bookshop a couple of weeks back. A new Eoin Colfer book is always a reason to celebrate and in this case it was a graphic novel too, and so I was doubly overjoyed.

The book starts with this Elie Wiesel quote - "You, who are so-called illegal aliens, must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong. But illegal? How can
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~Madison
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-haul
This need to be read in schools. No human is illegal.
Abby Johnson
This graphic novel follows a pair of brothers escaping a dismal life in Niger by attempting to flee to Europe. The journey is long and dangerous. Many don't make it. But they keep on, hopeful to reunite with their sister in Italy and start a new life. The storyline alternates between past, detailing Ebo's journey to find his older brother, and present as the two brothers are together on a raft heading acorss the sea towards Italy.

I think this graphic novel does what it sets out to do - it detai
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Clare Lund
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking and powerful. Would make for an incredible unit if taught in combination with Refugee by Alan Gratz. Ages 10 and up.
Ashley Owens
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars. I received a electronic ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I really loved this graphic novel. It was emotional in a way I wasn’t expecting. This novel tells the story of Ebo, a boy from Africa who has just found out this his brother has left to try to make a life in Italy, and will eventually send him money. Their sister, Sisi, is already there so they are hoping for a reunion.

Because most of this novel takes place either on the sea or outside trekking
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Shaye Miller
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking! :( But such a great story jumping back and forth between time periods. Full review to come soon...
Zizeloni
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel so privileged right now....
stefiereads
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Crying mess.
I don’t know what to tell you.
Please read this book. So important. Very very very important book.
If you would buy any graphic novels, pick this one.
Maria
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
You, who are so-called illegal aliens, must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful. They can be fat or skinny. They can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal? ... Elie Wiesel
Bridget
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a gem of a book! The tone is exactly right, we come to feel the fears, hopes, exhilaration and live through the trauma of Ebo, as he searches for his brother who has headed off to try and get to Europe as a refugee. This is only the beginning though, after rejoicing at finding Kwame, he is then trying to earn enough money to gain passage on a boat for them to go together to Europe, where they hope to find their sister. It is hard to read, and it is quite an emotional experience for the read ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
This graphic novel about a boy's experience as an immigrant is an incredibly powerful and timely gem. I just wish we got more, especially about Sisi and her journey. ...more
Rodica
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5*, rounded to 4

There is nothing groundbreaking about the storytelling aspect of this book, but it’s very touching and the subject matter - very important. As a tool in raising awareness and empathy, I think it does a great job - the plight of the characters is realistic and told in a simple and dignified manner. I would have wished for more background information, for more backstory about the connection to their sister. The ending is sad and mind ok abrupt, we don’t have time to grieve and ha
...more
Malia
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is a short book and though I wished some parts were a bit more fleshed out, it is worth reading! I also think the graphic novel format would make important subject matter more accessible to students, if this were used in school. The story of the refugee is not a new one, but it has been in the news a lot these past few years. This makes it important, I think, to consider the individual stories of these people who are desperate to leave their homeland for whatever reason. I did think the boo ...more
Robyn
A gripping and emotional middle grade graphic novel. Pair this with Refugee by Alan Gratz.

First Lines:
Seahawk inflatable rubber dinghy. Maximum safe load 6 people. Currently carrying 14 passengers, p.1.
Floating on the frigid Mediterranean Sea in a small balloon boat designed for six people, Ebo and his brother Kwame along with twelve other individuals are desperate to reach their destination. Twelve year old Ebo left his small village home in Niger in search of his brother Kwame
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Prince William Public Libraries
Illegal is a graphic novel that chronicles the dangerous journeys of migrants. Ebo's sister left Ghana, and hasn't been heard from since. Likewise, his brother Kwame left and disappeared. Ebo wants to follow them. His journey is arduous, dangerous, and stressful. The story goes between the past and present, giving the reader a full perspective of Ebo's life. The back of the book also provides insight into true stories.

This is a chilling account that kids/teens may need or want an adult to talk w
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Rachael
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"You, who are so-called Illegal Aliens, must know that nooo human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful. They can be fat or skinny. They can be right or wrong. But illegal? How can a human being be illegal?"

"We should never have come."

"I never see him again."

"They must help us. We are human."

"Every person is a human being."

This book is emotional, heartbreaking, informative, shocking and a lot more. You're rooting for the storyteller s
...more
David
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25

I enjoyed this graphic novel a lot, but it was a little too predictable. Of course it might be predictable because so many people ha e suffered similar fates trying to find a better life. The artwork was absolutely stunning and the colors so vibrant. This is a great graphic novel for students.
Peacegal
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad my library got this graphic novel. It truly is amazing, with stunning artwork and a thought provoking storyline. I think this story of a child refugee's quest for a better life is very much needed in the world today. ...more
Chris Haughton
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
fantastic book. could not put it down. highly recommended.
Jill Williamson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Play Book Tag: Illegal/Eoin Colfer/4.5 Stars 1 7 Mar 09, 2021 10:42AM  
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10,319 followers
Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) was born in Wexford on the South-East coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four brothers were brought up by his father and mother, who were both educators.

He received his degree from Dublin University and began teaching primary school in Wexford. He has lived and worked all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. After the publication of the A
...more

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