Back of Book:
Of all her friends, Abia has been at the Shimelba Refugee Camp the longest—seven years, four months, and sixteen days. Papa says that’s too long and they need a forever home. Until then, though, Abia has something important to do. Be a queen.
Sometimes she’s a noisy queen, banging on her drum as she and Mama wait in the long line for the rice to cook for dinner. Sometimes she’s a quiet queen, cuddling her baby cousin to sleep while Auntie is away collecting firewood. And sometimes, when Papa talks hopefully of their future, forever home, Abia is a little nervous. Forever homes are in strange and faraway places—will she still be a queen?
I received a copy of this picture book from Atheneum Books in exchange for an honest review.
Debut author Mary Wagley Copp took a tough topic and created a moving and lyrical picture book about the endurance of children in refugee camps. The story follows Abia a young girl who is making the most of her time in the camp. No matter the struggle, Abia is a queen and holds her head high. The first person narrative allows readers to relate to Abia as she balances her current life, with the idea of an unknown future. Abia handles each new situation with excitement and a sense of adventure. Displacement and Refugees can be a complicated topic to explain to young children. Mary did a wonderful job of opening readers’ eyes to the hope and determination that refugees have. The illustrations by Munir D. Mohammed are beautiful. The colors are vibrant and detailed. I was amazed at the illustrations of the sunsets and outdoor areas. The back of the book shares more information with readers about the plight of refugees across the world. I was also very excited that a list of other books discussing refugees. As a teacher, I am looking forward to sharing this book with my students. It is a true gem in so many ways.
Ages 6 and up
Back of Book: