Bone Sparrow
by Fraillon, Zana

Subhi's contained world as a refugee in an Australian permanent detention center rapidly expands when Jimmie arrives on the other side of the fence and she asks him to read her late mother's stories to her.

Zana Fraillon was born in Melbourne Australia, but spent her early childhood in San Francisco. Zana has written two picture books for young children, a series for middle readers, and a fictitious book for older readers based on research and recounts of survivors of the Forgotten Generation. She now lives in Melbourne, with her three sons, husband and two dogs. When Zana isn't reading or writing, she likes to explore the museums and hidden passageways scattered across Melbourne. They provide the same excitement as that moment before opening a new book ? preparing to step into the unknown where a whole world of possibilities awaits.

*Starred Review* Unlike his maŠ and sister Queeny, Rohingya refugees forced to flee their native Myanmar by boat, Subhi was born in an Australian detention center. The crowded quarters, rationed portions, and exacting employees (the "Jackets") are all the 10-year-old has ever known. Jimmie, on the other hand, was born on the outside-and lives just blocks from Subhi's center. Once filled with books and gardens, her world was ruptured by the recent death of her mother. While Subhi's stories, dreams, and drawings help him endure the center's countless hardships as he awaits the arrival of his faraway father, Jimmie copes by sifting through memories. One remnant, an unread notebook of her mother's, has her hunting for answers and finding them in, of all places, Subhi. As their stories gracefully interlock, the center seethes with unprecedented tension. The pivoting story line, with chapters alternating among Subhi, Jimmie, and sparkling slivers of family lore, allows Fraillon to explore the many faces of otherness, bravery, and solidarity. But Subhi's narrative, whether he's squabbling with a rubber duck or searching the stars, remains the standout of the three: wide-eyed, heartfelt, and infectiously imaginative. Appended with a glimpse at the "all-too-true reality" of refugee maltreatment, this tale is breathtaking and indispensable. As Subhi might say, "there is a fierce" inside of it. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

In the Australian detention camp where he was born and still lives, Subhi, 10, a Rohingya boy, shares a crowded tent with his mother, older sister, and other refugees and dreams of an unbounded world and the Night Sea. Stories feed Subhi's vivid imagination, especially the ones his mother tells of life back in Burma, but MaŠ rarely speaks now. Camp living conditions are dire: borderline inedible food, appalling sanitation, and the Jackets' inhumane treatment, which ranges from indifferent to cruel (kindly guard Harvey is the exception). Subhi helps his friend Eli trade valuable items among detainees until Eli is sent to live with the adult single men; then his companionship is limited to the Shakespeare duck, a rubber duck he keeps in his pocket to talk to-and who talks back in his portion of the narration. Near the camp, another child, Jimmie, also 10, lives with her father and brother. Jimmie treasures but can't yet read her deceased mother's notebook of stories. Following a (false) rumor that detained kids have bikes, Jimmie sneaks into the camp unnoticed. After meeting Subhi, who's happy to read the stories to her, she visits frequently, bringing hot chocolate and snacks. These easily accomplished visits don't square with the established gulaglike conditions and contradict the brutal realities already conveyed. Suspenseful but less-consequential, this weaker subplot dilutes the starker, more powerful tragedy and, like Jimmie's character, is less fleshed out. Readers will trip over the plot's loose ends. If the strong lyrical voice can't quite compensate for the plot's awkward execution, it points to a reservoir of underutilized talent in an author worth watching. (afterword) (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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