New books about refugees

THE BOAT PEOPLE
THE BOAT PEOPLE
THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS
THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS
SEA PRAYER
SEA PRAYER
MY COUNTRY
MY COUNTRY
THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS
THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS
BUTTERFLY
BUTTERFLY
THE FOX HUNT
THE FOX HUNT

FICTION

THE BOAT PEOPLE

By Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala

Doubleday/ Paperback/ 338 pages/ $29.43/ Books Kinokuniya

When a rusty cargo ship arrives in Vancouver, the 500 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers aboard are thrown into prison as the authorities debate whether it is safe to let them into the country.

Young father Mahindan will do anything to keep his son Sellian safe. But despite the best efforts of his lawyer Priya, a second-generation Sri Lankan-Canadian, he may be parted from his child.

Grace, the adjudicator deciding Mahindan's fate, grapples with her own identity as the descendant of Japanese immigrants.


FICTION

THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS

By Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

Weidenfeld & Nicolson/ Paperback/ 360 pages/ $29.95/ Books Kinokuniya

Nour, a young Syrian-American girl, loses her home in Homs in a bombing and must make her way with her map-maker mother and sisters to safety in Ceuta, Morocco, in this novel by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar.

Her journey mirrors that of Rawiya, apprentice to the legendary 12th-century cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, who plans to map the world.


FICTION

SEA PRAYER

By Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini

Riverhead/Hardcover/48 pages/ Publishing in September

A short, illustrated book by Khaled Hosseini in the form of a letter from a father to his son on the eve of their dangerous sea-crossing.


NON-FICTION

MY COUNTRY

By Kassem Eid

Kassem Eid

Bloomsbury/Paperback/ 195 pages/$29.95/ Books Kinokuniya

After Kassem Eid nearly died in a sarin gas attack that killed hundreds in his town of Moadamiya, Syria, he picked up a gun for the first time and joined the Free Syrian Army.

He wrote blog posts about daily life during the civil war, even going on a 30-day hunger strike, to keep the world's attention on Syria.

In 2014, he escaped to the US and testified before the United Nations Security Council.


NON-FICTION

THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS

By Clemantine Wamariya (below) and Elizabeth Weil

Clemantine Wamariya

Hutchinson/ Paperback/ 273 pages/ $29.95/ Books Kinokuniya

Clemantine Wamariya became a refugee at the age of six, when she and her sister Claire were separated from their family during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Over the next six years, they moved through seven African countries until they were granted refugee status in the United States.

She recounts not just her journey, but also her struggle to settle down in the US, cope with the limelight and deal with the trauma her experiences had left her with.


NON-FICTION

BUTTERFLY

By Yusra Mardini (below) with Josie Le Blond

Yusra Mardini

Bluebird/Paperback/283 pages/ $33.95/Books Kinokuniya

Yusra Mardini learnt to swim before she could walk. She dreamt of representing Syria in the Olympics, but war drove her and her sister Sara to flee Damascus, where bombs fell around her daily as she trained.

She chronicles their journey to Europe, during which they spent three hours in the sea after their boat began to sink.


NON-FICTION

THE FOX HUNT

By Mohammed Al Samawi

Mohammed Al Samawi

William Morrow/ Paperback/ 336 pages/ $43.33/ Books Kinokuniya

Born a Shi'ite Muslim in Yemen, Mohammed Al Samawi was raised to hate Jews, but began to doubt his teachings after secretly receiving a copy of the Bible.

His attempts to build bridges among Jews, Muslims and other faiths earned him death threats and forced him to flee to Aden, where he was caught up in a civil war.

His desperate appeal for help on social media was answered by four young activists in the US and Israel who barely knew him, but who over the next 13 days pulled out all the stops to get him to safety in the US.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2018, with the headline 'New books about refugees'. Print Edition | Subscribe