cover image Refugee


Alan Gratz, read by Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, and Assaf Cohen. Scholastic Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 7.5 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-1-338-19107-3

The trenchant audio edition of Gratz’s middle grade novel employs the voices of three actor to tell the interwoven stories of three young refugees. Actor Goldstrom convincingly portrays 12-year-old Josef, who escapes persecution and murder in Germany in 1938. Listeners can hear the loss of innocence in Josef’s voice as he goes from anticipating becoming a bar mitzvah to becoming the head of the family after his father is murdered. Voice artist Garcia skillfully narrates the plight of 11-year-old Isabel and the Fernandez family during their harrowing 90-mile escape from Cuba to Miami on a boat in 1994. Actor Cohen dramatizes the horror of the ongoing Syrian crises in reading the story 12-year-old Mahmoud and his family, who are fleeing from the current, devastating civil war in Syria. His portrayal of Mahmoud’s optimistic father gives some relief to the grim circumstances that befall the family on their way to sanctuary in Germany. This well done performance is a timely work that will undoubtedly help young listeners think critically about the circumstances of children beyond their own comfortable borders. Ages 9–12. A Scholastic hardcover. (July)