scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source
Stormy Seas is a timely look at young refugees of the past, especially considering the current refugee crisis in which more than five million people have fled Syria, half of whom are children. This book helps to show us that refugees are not new at all -- the young people featured in this book fled from Germany, Cuba, Vietnam, Ivory Coast, and Afghanistan, all due to violence, government oppression, or other threat of persecution.
Each of the five sections shares the story of one person's flight, the reasons for leaving, and a first-person account of their time on the boat. We are then given a summary of what has happened to them since these events. More than one of these desperate refugees were turned away from the country they had initially been trying to reach.
This book is well designed, with many photos and quotes set off from the main text, as well as maps and other illustrations to create visual interest. But what interested me the most were the stories of these refugees, who are humanized in these pages rather than appearing as statistics.
In the introduction, the author tells us:
"If you're reading this, you--like me--have probably won the lottery. Not the giant-check, instant-millionaire kind of lottery. The other lottery win--the really valuable one. That random, lucky break that means you were born in or immigrated to a relatively peaceful and prosperous place in the world."
It's not always something we're forced to think about, but this book helps young adults appreciate their situation by sharing the stories of others, and hopefully encourages empathy in our response toward those who simply want to survive.
(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)
Author: Mary Beth Leatherdale
Illustrator: Eleanor Shakespeare
Content Advisory: Some depictions of violence, and of squalid conditions on the boats.