Flying Over Water
Twelve-year-old Noura Alwan's family is granted asylum in the United States, after spending two years in a Turkish refugee camp, having fled war-torn Aleppo. They land in Tampa, Florida, on January 30, 2017, just days after the president restricted entry into the US from nations with a Muslim majority population.Twelve-year-old Jordyn Johnson is a record-breaking swimmer, but hasn't swum well since her mom had a miscarriage during one of her meets. Her family has volunteered to help the Alwan family through their church. She knows very few people of Arab descent or who practice Islam.The girls' lives intersect at Bayshore Middle School where Jordyn serves as the Alwan children's school ambassador. Noura knows that her family is safe from the civil unrest in her home country, but is not prepared for the adversity she now faces on American soil. Jordyn is sympathetic to Noura's situation, but there are other members of their Florida community who see the refugees' presence to be a threat to their way of life.While the president's Muslim ban tests the resolve and faith of many, it is friendship that stands strong against fear and hatred.Award winners N.H. Senzai and Shannon Hitchcock have combined their talents to craft a heartrending Own Voices story told in dual perspectives.
This is a great title for all kinds of readers. It would be an excellent book for a class read aloud or a lit circle study, and should definitely be accompanied by Senzai's informative and interesting Escape from Aleppo in order to help middle grade readers understand how difficult a time Syrian refugees (as well as other refugees) have with the immigration process. I am hoping that this will be available in paperback and widely available at Scholastic book fairs!