A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Timely exploration of Syrian refugee crisis, exposing realities of living in and trying to escape a war zone.
Displaced people often display great courage and resilience. Even in the most grim situations, people are able to muster hope.
Positive Role Models
The Unwanted has no particular protagonist, but it shows people of all ages and all walks of life dealing with chaos of war. Some behave admirably, others indulge worst impulses.
Violence & Scariness
Older children beat up younger ones. Civilians are subjected to gunfire, bombings, tear gas, water cannons, beheadings. Small children drown when their rafts and ships sink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Unwanted is a nonfiction graphic novel written and illustrated by Don Brown (The Great American Dustbowl). It portrays the hardships endured by Syrian refugees as they flee their home country and attempt to rebuild their lives in Europe. The level of violence is understandably high -- gunfights, bombings, drownings, beheadings, and much more -- but presented with subtlety and a lack of bloodshed on the page.
Is It Any Good?
The issues surrounding the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis are numerous and complex, and this insightful and compassionate graphic novel does an excellent job of presenting them for a young audience. Without picking one main character, Brown focuses on the survivors, depicting their deadly struggles and their small successes. The dialogue and captions are spare, the evocative watercolor illustrations doing most of the narrative heavy-lifting.
The Unwanted is a record of a traumatic time in history and a rousing call to action. It may spur readers to learn more about the crisis and find ways of supporting refugee children.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.