cover image The Waiting Place: When Home Is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found

The Waiting Place: When Home Is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found

Dina Nayeri, photographs by Anna Bosch Miralpeix. Candlewick, $18.99 (64p) ISBN

This picture book debut by Nayeri profiles 10 children at the Katsikas camp outside Ioannna, Greece. Opening with a personification of the Waiting Place as initially compassionate (“It is very sorry. It has been waiting for you”), and then increasingly sinister (“It wants more children and mothers and fathers. It doesn’t want you to visit the nearby lake... It craves your hours, weeks, years”), the text soon introduces some of the camp’s child residents alongside their friends and siblings. Five-year-old Matin, who’s from Afghanistan and previously stayed at “Moria, the most evil of all the waiting places,” makes a bow from an old bedspring and wants to be “the man who fills the planes with fuel. Without him, nobody can fly.” Bosch Miralpeix’s photographs provide an intimate glimpse of the camp and its quarters. Though the personification of the camp wavers in effectiveness, unclearly stating, for example, why it “wants you to be a child forever,” the focus on children’s daily life grounds the volume, offering rich conversation starters about refugee experiences and mass displacement. An afterword, glossary, and author’s note offer helpful context. Ages 12–up. (May)