Fourteen-year-old Alem Kelo adjusts to life as a foster child seeking asylum in London, while his Eritrean mother and Ethiopian father work for peace between their homelands in Africa.
The town of Oppum Oppidulum is home to the freezing Lake Beluarum and its rumored monster. On an island at the center of the lake is an asylum; no one has ever escaped it. So how will Rex, whose father, Ambrose Grammaticus, has been imprisoned there under false pretenses, prove that Ambrose is not insane? And if Rex can free his father, will his evil stepmother drive them both to madness?
The phrase “asylum seeker” is one heard in the media all the time. It stimulates fierce and controversial debate, in arguments about migration, race, and religion. The movement of people from poor or struggling countries to those where there may be opportunities for a better life is a constant in human history, but it is something with particular relevance in this time of wide-scale political and social upheaval. Featuring stories from youth based in trouble spots around the world — including Kosovo, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Eritrea, Zaire, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Zimbabwe, and Kurdistan — this collection of stories spotlights people who have been forced to leave their homes or families to seek help and shelter elsewhere. This book has no political axe to grind, simply recording the truth of these children’s stories without assigning blame. Some are about young people traveling to other countries; others are concerned with young ones left behind when parents are forced to flee. These are stories about physical and emotional suffering but also about humanity — of both those who endure unimaginable hardship and those who help them.