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4.10  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Jamila has left her friends, her school and her home in Iraq, and now she has a new home. It’s safe in Australia, but Jamila is finding it hard to settle in. She misses her best friend and worries for her dad’s safety back in Iraq. It’s hard to speak and write in English all day. And Jamila has a secret she wants to keep hidden.

When she joins the choir, Jamila begins to
176 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Text Publishing
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  39 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loveozmg, text, bookgasm
Jamila has migrated to Australia from Baghdad Iraq, a country ravaged by conflict. In their quiet and humble Melbourne home, Jamila and her mother await the arrival of their father and husband from Baghdad, an investigative journalist taking shelter from the authorities. Feeling displaced and missing her homeland, Jamila attends school, translates English for her mother and helps care for her brother, often at the expense of attending school.

Jamila is gentle soul, her character is representative
Text Publishing
‘Laguna has put much of the experience and understanding she has gained as both a musician and as a teacher of English to new arrivals into this engaging first novel.’
Adelaide Advertiser
Emily Wrayburn
Review originally posted on A Keyboard and an Open Mind 11 October 2019:

This was such a sweet, uplifting book! It’s only short and I read it all in one sitting, and afterwards had a huge smile on my face. It was kind of easy to see where the story was going, but that didn’t take away from it at all.

Jamila, her mother and younger brother are refugees newly arrived in Melbourne from Iraq. Jamila is struggling to balance her new school life where she is the odd one out with her mother’s needs as
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story was short and so touching. It evoked so many emotions in me.

I empathised with Jamila and her mum, and their struggle at starting a life in a new country. Jamila’s frustration at being constantly taken out of school to help her mum with everyday tasks is understandably frustrating for her. She doesn’t know how she is meant to improve her English and social skills if she is having to go home a few times a week to help her mum with things.

It made my heart ache when Jamila and her mum
Kelly | My Teacher Reads
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
For Upper Primary students, this novel shares the often untold difficulties refugee children have, particularly the pull between their new and old lives. Jamila is struggling with her sense of self as she tries to navigate her new school while also being a rock for her family. She finds solace and self in songwriting and singing. A thoughtful read, addressing issues like language barriers and bullying. Jamila’s perspective allows readers to step into her shoes.
Kerryn Lawson
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely beautiful, delightfully tender story of family and friendship but most importantly the struggles families face when settling in a country that is not their own, often without their whole family. I challenge anyone reading this story not to be moved by the end of the book. Loved it.
Brona's Books
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely, heart-warming story for mature 8+ readers.

Refugee issues of fear, belonging and fitting in are discussed tenderly and thoughtfully via Jamila's story.

The power of song and music to be inclusive shines through every page.

Touches on how to make friends, to stand up for yourself, to embrace diversity and still honour your family and traditions.

Highly recommended
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
A story about courage in the face of frightening adversity. How do you make friends when you look different, have trouble keeping up with the language everyone else speaks, fear for your father and his friends, and have to take on adult responsibilities because your mum is depressed and not coping? This is a powerful story for readers around Year 5 and up.
Anna Davidson
A gentle story about Jamila, a young refugee girl, settling into Australian life. I enjoyed the way the book explored friendships as well as the challenges Jamie’s and her family faced with a new culture.
Kylie Duthie
A lovely story about a young refugee girl and her struggles. Written for upper Primary School students.
Josephine Burks
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Decent book probably for upper primary aged kids about the struggles of a refugee/migrant girl Jamila from Iraq and her transition to life in Australia.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
so emotion and heart wrenching - i cried throughout at least the last 50 pages ...more
Wendy Bridges
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous book
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Ingrid Laguna is an author, EAL educator and musician. As a percussionist, singer and songwriter, Ingrid has toured Europe, Asia and Australia, recorded several albums, and taken percussion and song writing workshops. With performance group Ruby Fruit Jungle, she supported Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, playing at Australia's biggest entertainment venues. In the Australian film ...more
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“I have had the privilege of building relationships with many Iraqi and Syrian refugee children over recent years, and their resilience has inspired Songbird. My students have been warm and hopeful and full of fight, despite unimaginable challenges. Jamila, the story’s main character, embodies many of their qualities and some of their stories.” 0 likes
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