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The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,372 ratings  ·  544 reviews
In the tradition of Don Brown’s critically acclaimed, full-color nonfiction graphic novels The Great American Dust Bowl and Sibert Honor winning Drowned City, The Unwanted is an important, timely, and eye-opening exploration of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, exposing the harsh realities of living in, and trying to escape, a war zone.

Starting in 2011, refugees flood ou
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Krista Dolzer The author tells us in an afterword that he visited three Syrian refugee camps in Greece in 2017. He also includes an extensive bibliography of newspa…moreThe author tells us in an afterword that he visited three Syrian refugee camps in Greece in 2017. He also includes an extensive bibliography of newspaper articles that he accessed online. That said, while he mentions a handful of specific refugees throughout the book, it felt more like an aggregate look at the Syrian refugee experience than an intimate one (or at least it did to me).

For a more intimate look, I recommend the documentary "Sky and Ground," which embeds a camera crew with an actual refugee family as they make their way from a refugee camp in Greece to relatives in Germany: The family was originally from Aleppo and smuggled themselves from there to Greece before coming into contact with the filmmakers, who were looking for a group of refugees willing to let their camera crew tag along. It was very real and very gripping.

Hope this helps!(less)

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Dave Schaafsma
Since I had just read Arab of the Future (Volume 3), Riad Sattouf's memoir of growing up in Syria and France in the eighties, with its especially interesting view of chaotic and corrupt Syrian small town life, I thought I would look and see what else in graphic was on my library's shelf about Syria, which had been so much in the news a few years ago, and then the media largely seemed to largely forget about it. So everything's fine now in Syria? Well, the nightmare continues, as this book makes ...more
Jon Nakapalau
This GN really gives you lots to think about in relatively few panels - each story gives you the feeling of standing by and watching something horrible happening; looking for answers that are long overdue. Powerful and heartbreaking.
Now while most of what is written and illustrated by Don Brown in his 2018 (and 2019 Sibert honour recipient) The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees has sadly not been all that personally new and surprising to and for me, it was and remains both textually and visually informative as well as majorly thought-provoking to have this all so powerfully and devastatingly shown in a graphic novel format (emotionally moving, painful, essential information and details, but truly, The Unwanted: Stori ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Though there was nothing really new to me in this book, I think it was well done and would be a fantastic resource to use in schools! The story is deeply moving and relevant, and that in itself makes this a worthwhile read!

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Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: beans-reviews, yikes
A white American’s heavily-researched view of the Syrian refugee crisis -- its origins, everyday horrors, and political underpinnings.

In 2010, uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East drew the world’s attention and galvanized a new generation of dissent. Known as the Arab Spring, these demonstrations toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt; in Syria, vicious state repression quickly led to harrowing civil war. By mid-2011, thousands of Syrians would be displaced by increased shelling, mas
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
*Review based on ARC*
I really loved all the information this book provided about they Syrian refugee experience. I am sure when it is finally published in color that will add to its appeal. However, it wasn't really a story so much as a timeline of facts with some pictures. I think Illegal by Eoin Colfer does a better job at portraying the refugee experience in a story form. Still, this gn is full of really important information so it's still worth picking up.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don Brown uses a graphic novel format to document the Syrian refugee crisis. The book begins in 2011, when small acts of insurrection cause a massive overreaction by Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria. It documents the mass exodus of more than 5 million people from Syria over the six years, concluding in 2017. Brown has done extensive research, with an 8 1/2 page bibliography, using various stories to illustrate the many reasons for the refugee crisis and the inhospitable, sometimes hostile, cl ...more
Karen Witzler
Graphic current events - every sentence on every page is sourced from news reports with extensive footnotes and bibliography provided. Woven together with adequate but not particularly inspiring illustrations, those sentences build an easy to follow narrative of the events that have taken place in Syria - the uprising, the Civil War, the refugee crisis, the splintering into factions.

The Refugee Crisis is the main story told - in camps in the region and abroad, on dark beaches and dark roads. The
Rod Brown
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A stark and straightforward rundown of the Syrian refugee crisis. Good, but depressing.
Abby Johnson
Wow. This graphic novel shows the plight of Syrian refugees as they flee their war-torn country and try to find safe haven and a place to start over. It’s not easy - it requires a dangerous journey and many countries are closing their borders. With evocative art that literally breaks its own boxes, Don Brown paints the lives of refugees in grim Browns and grays. Masterful work.
Marco Morano
I was sen this by the publishers as a part of the Teen Board for review.

THE UNWANTED: Stories of the Syrian Refugees is a nonfiction graphic novel discussing the current refugee crisis going on in Syria. The book starts in 2011 and slowly shows us how Syria came to be to what it is today. It mainly focuses on what happens to the Syrian refugees after leaving their country, and the constant struggles they have to face due to their heritage. Don Brown is also known for his other grap
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a heartbreaking take on the Syrian refugee crisis. Aimed at young adult readers, the subject matter lays out the events leading up to the refugee crisis in a clear and straightforward manner so that anyone without background knowledge won't be left in the dark. The book reads as a collection of anecdotes from a host of different people.

The anecdotes form a cohesive narrative. I was left with important questions such as what responsibility does humankind have for victims of politic
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen, graphic-novels
This graphic novel tells the stories of Syrian refugees in their own voices. Based on interviews and visits to refugee camps around the region, the book clearly tells the story of the basis of the refugee crisis in Syria. As the flood of refugees begins and then continues, the nations taking in the refugees see sentiments in their populations shift to be anti-immigrant due to the overwhelming costs and disruption. Still, the refugees need a place to live in peace, a place to make a home and a pl ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read some of the reviews for this book after reading it. Although I see their points about a lot of things, I have rated this a 5 star. For me personally, this opened my eyes to a side of what I see on the news. We can get very blase about what we view on our screens. The amount of horror that bombards us every day can make us forget the individuals that are affected - people just like us.
After the massacre in Christchurch in March, none of us here in NZ can keep these horrific things at a dis
Mary Thomas
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Art Spiegelman writes, “comics are a highly charged medium, delivering densely concentrated information in relatively few words and simplified code-images”. This is certainly true for The Unwanted, which is well researched and contains powerful imagery. While it is most likely best suited for middle school and up, I hope this text will be used widely in classrooms and deserves a home in all school libraries.
Adam Stone
I was excited to see a graphic novel dealing with the Syrian crisis. It's something I have been incredibly uninformed about. And while I wasn't expecting this to be a thorough piece of journalism, I was expecting either a more journalistic approach, or a focus on personal stories about Syrians affected by the political upheaval.

There is no reason why this book is a graphic novel. The illustrations are ineffective, unaffecting, and add nothing to the narration. There is a false earnestness to so
Paul  Hankins
The author/illustrator of THE GREAT AMERICAN DUST BOWL and DROWNED CITY is back this fall (just in time for the new school year) to offer an almost eight-year retrospective on the Syrian refugee situation. The back matter of this graphic novel include first-hand account of refugee settlements and the efforts on the part of those making the difficult journey and those receiving and tending to their needs. Brown presents the story through a perspective of personal account with voices of the images ...more
Albany High Library
"The book shines some light on issues that aren't obvious to everyone." -- student review
This graphic novel provides an unflinching look at the Syrian refugee crisis through a series of vignettes. Brown uses his medium to great effect, helping readers develop their understanding of this humanitarian crisis -- an “accessible and heartbreaking primer, with its stirring simplicity and a note of hope.” (SLJ)
Incredible synthesis of tons of information about Syrian refugees from 2010-2018. We really need to accept more refugees in the US.
I really love Don Brown's illustrations. This is a good summary of the Syrian refugee crisis with less focus on personal stories, more focus on the macro experience of refugees. ...more
Alina Karapandzich
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This book left me speechless. Describes the stories and impossible struggles that Syrian refugees have faced and continue to face daily in a graphic novel format. A mix of narration and speech bubbles by different refugees. The illustrations almost make the pain and fear of the refugees tangible to the reader as the dusty and gray color schemes and the harsh lines and textures make you feel sympathy for the chaotic and dangerous journeys these refugees are making.
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
As far as the importance of this book, it is five stars. I did not know anything about the Syrian refugee crisis except as an occasional headline that crossed my overprivileged path, but I think everyone who has everything they need and much of what they want, should read this. It is easy to get through in the graphic-novel format and though the illustrations didn't move me personally, the style does work for this subject. I'll leave you with the last sentence of the Postscript: "There are 5.7 m ...more
Noah Pindak
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars✨

In this graphic novel is the true story of refugees, specifically those from Syria. Refugees who are seeking only asylum, seeking to live, seeking a life away from violence, a better future.

What has happened is horrific, no one deserves to die. To be forced to leave their home country. To watch loved ones suffer, get sick, taken advantage of, or to be separated with no way of getting in touch again.

These millions of refugees deserve better. And this heartbreaking collection of their exp
Ryan Mishap
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Based on actual interviews with refugees, this heart-wrenching collection of stories is aimed at teen readers. Not that it shies away from the brutality and dangers people face on their journeys and the places they left behind.

With a concise history of the Syrian civlil war and growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, this is an indispensable volume for the concerned youth in your life.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
“The Unwanted” written and illustrated by Don Brown is about the struggles that Syrian refugees have to go through to get out of Syria and what it is like afterwards it also mention how and why all of the fighting started because the people of Syria did not like how their government ran and so they tried starting a revolution. The book has stats about how the refugees migrated and where they migrated to. The book did not have any main characters are any characters really at all but still made yo ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
¨The Unwanted Stories Of the Syrian Refugees¨

¨The Unwanted Stories Of the Syrian Refugees¨ is a nonfiction graphic novel. The book started in 2011 and shows how Syria became what it is today. In the book it explains what the syrian refugees had to deal with after they fled the country.
One thing that I really liked about this book was that it gave you the information so that you could have a grasp of what it was to be a syrian refugee and understand the struggles of their lives. Another thing th
Harry Brake
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having encountered Don Brown's Dustbowl and Drowned City graphic novels, when I received this graphic, I knew it would be a must have.

Hearing the latest NPR podcast of a reporter delving into deep parts of the United States and interviewing citizens unaware of what a refugee is by definition, not believing the idea there are are refugees in other countries, as well as the unfinished business of refugee assistance and perspectives across the world - you realize the power graphic novels have to te
Corinne Edwards
What Don Brown has done in this book is tell the stories of countless Syrian refugees through telling the stories of a few. The illustrations are stetchy and non-specific in the sense that we are not supposed to be following along and recognizing specific people - that's not the point. The point is to tell the general story of how people could be living a perfectly fine life in Syria to a few years later be living in a refugee camp, or be killed trying to flee in a tiny raft or be resettled in a ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, arc, comics, nonfic
Through comics, The Unwanted follows daily life within the refugee crisis of Syria.

I loved this book. It was a quick way to gain understanding and empathy for the refugee crisis. Comics seem to be a perfect medium for the heaviness of the topic; less words allows the reading to feel more light, while the comics pick up any slack, and then some. Not only is it informational, but also emotional. Brown tells the stories of the refugees through individual's snapshots, allowing the reader to see a wh
I've found composing a review for The Unwanted difficult. Though I have kept tabs on the Syrian Civil War for years, with the release of every news article or book, I remain horrified by the statistics surrounding the refugee plight. It's heartbreaking.

Don Brown has done extensive research into the crisis, and uses the graphic novel format to vividly illustrate the refugees' dangerous escape away from their homeland. As other GR reviewers have pointed out, there is no one main character, but th
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him "a current pac

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