The Bone Sparrow
Author: Zana Fraillon
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Subhi is 10 years old. He lives with his mother and sister in an Australian refugee detention center.This is the only home he has ever known because he was born here, never having set foot outside. DAR-1, that is his ID number. The 1 because he was the first child ever born within the detention center walls. But Subhi’s life is so much larger than the fences that contain him. Through his own imagination, a magical night sea and the unexpected arrival of a nightly visitor , a young girl named Jimmie, he finds solace. And just maybe even hope.
“And I wish I didn’t understand, because understanding doesn’t fix it. Understanding just makes it worse.”
-Zana Fraillon, The Bone Sparrow
Engaging from beginning to the bitter-sweet end, The Bone Sparrow is written with grace and pure, powerful honesty. Subhi’s story conveys, heartache and love, while evoking empathy and anger. This is a tale of displacement and one young child’s incredible ability to find contentment and a way of life within the confines of an environment that strips away all true freedom and human rights. This is existence inside a refugee detention center.
Convincingly developed characters breathe life into this charming and moving story. Subhi and Jimmie are endearing and compelling. A bond formed between a young boy who has never known freedom and a girl from the “outside” blossoms into a magnificent friendship that will not easily be forgotten.
Eloquently narrated in first person, The Bone Sparrow dives into the heart of cultural and political matters, addressing a an issue that is still very much relevant today. The author has tackled the incredible task of portraying life inside of a refugee detention center through the eyes of a child who has never known anything else. And she succeeds tremendously. I cannot express just how strongly I feel that this is a worthy read for all ages.
I truly have no negative remarks for this title. I feel as if The Bone Sparrow could justifiably be required reading within middle school curriculum for so many reasons. There is true value to be had within this story. I only wish that the events leading up to the end had not occurred so rapidly. The finals chapters felt rushed. I would have appreciated learning more of both Subhi and Jimmie before the story concluded.
(I received a copy of The Bone Sparrow courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest & unbiased review)
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐