The story of a refugee: one child's journey stands for the journeys of many and the hopes of even more
Shif is just an ordinary boy who likes chess, maths and racing his best friend home from school. But one day, soldiers with guns come to his door - and he knows that he is no longer safe.
Shif is forced to leave his mother and little sister, and embark on a dangerous j...more
Shif, is a clever and resourceful, but timid boy, living in an unnamed Middle Eastern country affected by government c ...more
A nameless country, a young man and his story of circumstances that conspire to force him into considering leaving his home and family behind.
Shif is 14, and along with his best friend Bini, loves school, chess and maths. After the disappearance/death of his father, with his mother fearing they will be forced into military service and never return, Shif and Bini prepare to flee.
The story takes some rather dark turns, with the two boy ...more
The violence and death does happen ‘off ...more
The story is fast-paced and told in a spare, but compelling language. The reader is immediately drawn into Shif’s impoverished but full life as a young student with a sharp mind and love of beating his best friend, Bini, at chess. In Shif’s home country it’s common practice for teens to join the military and serve a m ...more
This is a short and deceptively simple book, following fourteen-year-old Shif as he makes the dangerous journey from his home in Africa to find safety in Europe. The plot is straightforward, and the first-person narration is pared-back, childlike, and sincere. At first glance, the storytelling feels simple, but there is just enough here to allow the reader to connect with Shif, and to experience the frightening events of t ...more
Be aware, while the actua ...more
Shif is a clever young boy. He has plans for his future and intends to teach after his military training. What he doesn’t know is that so much of what he’s been told is a cover-up.
Shif ends up with soldiers coming for him. He is taken to a detention centre in the desert, manages to escape and has a traumatic time trying to get back to what he knew.
In a straightforward, even simple way we are shown just how easily someone can end up on the wrong side of a regi ...more
Other books dealing with the same topic that are worth your time (as this one definitely is) are: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes and Refugee
Refugee 87 is liste ...more
We start the book with a ship capsizing in the middle of the ocean and a boy struggling to get to the surface. Then no sooner has it started, we rewind back to the b ...more
But life around them is changing. Bini suddenly stops coming to school. Government soldiers are appearing more often in their town, looking for children avoiding compulsory military service. Shif’s mum tells him the truth about his father, who he always thought was dead. The unth ...more
Sent to prison in the middle of the desert, they are left in a container with a variety of ‘deserters’ - people who have spoken against the government and punished. They are left with the decision of whether to escape and risk their lives, or stay and meet certain death.
Shif and Bini’s friendship is a highlight here, all knowing looks and unspoken understan ...more
The writing style makes it accessible to older children/young teens, but it's a great read for adults too. I was absolutely enthralled by this book, and consumed it in just 2 nights.
Dark, though-provoking, high ...more
She lived in Addis Ababa for several years, where she was inspired to write Boy 87, her debut novel. Ele lives in what she describes as a “not quite falling down house” in Hampshire with her husband, two young daughters and lots o ...more