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Hamzat's Journey: A Refugee Diary

Overview


This third book in the Refugee Diary series follows the story of a boy from Chechnya. In 2001 when Chechens were at war with Russia, he was on his way to school in the capital of Grozny when he stepped on a landmine. His leg had to be amputated, and eventually he and his father went to the U.K. for expert treatment and fitting of an artificial leg. As it was unsafe for them to return to Chechnya, the family sought asylum in the U.K., where the family is learning to adapt to their new life after the horror of ...
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Overview


This third book in the Refugee Diary series follows the story of a boy from Chechnya. In 2001 when Chechens were at war with Russia, he was on his way to school in the capital of Grozny when he stepped on a landmine. His leg had to be amputated, and eventually he and his father went to the U.K. for expert treatment and fitting of an artificial leg. As it was unsafe for them to return to Chechnya, the family sought asylum in the U.K., where the family is learning to adapt to their new life after the horror of living in a war zone. This poignant and at times harrowing story reveals the bravery of Hamzat and his family in facing and overcoming their circumstances to start a new life.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sara Rofofsky Marcus
This book tells the true story of a young boy, Hamzat, growing up in war-torn Chechnya, whose life changes forever on April 20, 2001 when he steps on a landmine, losing his right leg below the knee. Told in Hamzat's own words, the reader learns how his family and others helped Hamzat to reach England for a new leg and to start a new life. Part of "A Refugee Diary" series, the work uses British-English, which can be confusing to the reader as unfamiliar terms are used without in-text definition or a glossary at the end. Illustrations and photographs bring the words to life and also demonstrate the reality. The author divides the book into chapters by time and place, helping the reader live through the events with Hamzat, from the seeming normalcy of hunger and fear, to despair, to accidents and hospitalization, and to the future. After Hamzat's story, the author includes a page of "Did You Know" facts and a page containing a brief history of Chechnya. This book is useful in history and social studies courses and also as an example of a the utility of keeping a diary. Reviewer: Sara Rofofsky Marcus
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This British import relates the story of a Chechnyan boy who, at age eight, in 2001, lost his leg in a land-mine accident. Ostensibly narrated by Hamzat himself, the text is printed in an informal font and incorporates a handful of youthful colloquialisms, but Hamzat is not listed as an author. He tells about receiving an artificial leg through UNICEF and about how he later traveled to England with another injured child to be fitted with a better leg. Once there, his family received refugee status, and Hamzat began to adjust to English life. The narrative ends with him speculating about a return to Chechnya, where the fighting has since stopped. An epilogue provides some facts about the country and a brief overview of recent conflicts there. While American students may be confused by a reference to the English school grade system, the writing is otherwise clear and straightforward. The large spreads all have pastel illustrations, though the mostly unexpressive figures and beige background make for a lackluster appearance. Photos of the real-life Hamzat and of his town are the most compelling element of the work. Libraries that own other solid works on the experience of war or of being a refugee, such as Deborah Ellis's Children of War (Groundwood, 2009) or Trisha Marx's One Boy from Kosovo (HarperCollins, 2000) may consider this an additional purchase.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847800305
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Series: A Refugee Diary
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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