Stormy Seas Share this with a friend

Stories of Young Boat Refugees

by Mary Beth Leatherdale
illustrated by Eleanor Shakespeare

EUREKA! Nonfiction Children’s Book Awards, California Reading Association Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award, Honor Book Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre Chicago Public Library’s Best Books List Booklist Editors’ Choice List Books of the Year, Quill & Quire Booklist Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction for Older and Middle Readers Top Ten Best Bet, Ontario Library Association Notable Books for a Global Society 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award VOYA Nonfiction Honor List Skipping Stones Honor Award Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List White Ravens Collection, International Youth Library, Munich Nautilus Book Award, Silver Bangkok Book Awards finalist Maine Student Book Award finalist Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award finalist Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist 2021 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award finalist Cybils Bloggers’ Literary Awards nomination 2018 Rocky Mountain Book Award nomination

A desperate last hope for safety and freedom.

The plight of refugees risking their lives at sea has, unfortunately, made the headlines all too often in the past few years. This book presents five true stories, from 1939 to today, about young people who lived through the harrowing experience of setting sail in search of asylum: Ruth and her family board the St. Louis to escape Nazism; Phu sets out alone from war-torn Vietnam; José tries to reach the United States from Cuba; Najeeba flees Afghanistan and the Taliban; and after losing his family, Mohamed abandons his village on the Ivory Coast in search of a new life.

Stormy Seas combines a vivid and contemporary collage-based design with dramatic storytelling to produce a book that makes for riveting reading as well as a source of timely information. These remarkable accounts will give readers a keen appreciation of the devastating effects of war and poverty on youth like themselves, and helps put the mounting current refugee crisis into stark context.


“A timely, powerful piece of nonfiction, this is a first purchase for most collections.”
—School Library Journal, *starred review, 04/17

“Gut-punch of a volume . . . offers an affecting perspective on the plight of refugees and emphasizes that this human-rights crisis is an ongoing, urgent issue.”
—Booklist, *starred review, 04/15/17

“Harrowing, wrenching, and hopeful.”
—Publishers Weekly, *starred review, 03/27/17

“An important and powerful book that is sure to spark discussion about the refugee crisis. A must have purchase for school and public libraries.”
—CM Reviews, 09/15/17

“A discussion starter on many levels both in and out of classrooms.”
—Canadian Children’s Book News, Spring/17

“The first line speaks volumes.”
—The Booklist Reader, 04/13/17

“[The] stories get gorgeously, affectingly enhanced by London-based artist Eleanor Shakespeare.”
—Bookdragon, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, 04/17

“A wonderful addition to a unit of study on refugees, immigration, and/or multiculturalism.”
—Green Teacher, Winter/19

“Invaluable insight into the harrowing experiences refugees face . . . a great nonfiction resource for any unit on refugees or migration of people.”
—IHeartLiteracy, 03/02/17

“A valuable addition to home, school, and community libraries seeking to illuminate the refugee journey for children.”
—Wander, Ponder, Write, 06/23/17

“An extraordinary resource, compelling in content and useful as a resource to launch research.”
—Unpacking the Power of Picture Books, 07/16/17

“An eye-opener.”
—Orange Marmalade, 06/20/17

“Timely stories of courage and resilience.”
—The Banner, 08/04/17

“The format helps a great deal as well as the overall layout that appeared somewhat like a newsletter, chunking the information into bite-size pieces that even the more reluctant readers would be drawn to read.”
—Gathering Books, 11/28/17

“It’s hard not to be moved by the sagas of these adolescents desperate to find a better life.”
—Cooperstown Crier, 11/16/17

“Timely, poignant, and very hopeful—the stories featured are personal enough to provide an excellent opportunity to discuss the current refugee crisis with young readers.”
—Provo Library Children’s Book Reviews, 01/30/18

“This topic is timely.”
—Celebrate Science, 03/05/18

“Should be shared in late middle and high school classrooms.”
—Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 07/22/18

“A timely and powerful story about resilience and determination.”
—Children’s Books Heal, 08/27/18


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Rights Sold:
Italian, Turkish, Korean

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