The story is told by a child, either the son or daughter in a family living in an unspecified city by the sea. Their lives are shattered by the outbreak of war, and their father is ‘taken’. Their mother, becoming increasingly concerned for their safety, makes the difficult decision to leave their home and head for a land far away. Leaving friends, pets and possessions behind, they embark on a dangerous escape across borders. When menacing border guards refuse to let them pass, they are forced to pay someone to smuggle them across in the dead of night. But this is not the end of their troubles: they face a long, overcrowded and hazardous sea journey, their anxieties eased a little only by sharing stories of hope with other refugees.
This is an exquisitely illustrated picture book. Francesca Sanna has punctuated her beautiful colour palettes with stark black shapes to represent the threatening menace of war. Parallels are drawn between the family’s journey and those of migrating birds.
Endorsed by Amnesty International, the author describes this book as a collage of the personal stories and incredible strength of refugees.