cover image Run for Your Life

Run for Your Life

Jane Mitchell. Little Island, $9.99 paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-912417-85-8

In a narrative that smoothly alternates between past and present, Irish author Mitchell (Without Refuge) compassionately delves into the emotionally and environmentally complex realities of accommodations for asylum seekers in Ireland through the fictional life of 12-year-old Azari, who fled her home country amid social and interpersonal trauma. Back home, Azari was put to work at a stifling garment factory after being pulled out of school and forced to give up her passion: running. In Ireland, however, Azari often feels as if “my life has been split in two”: nothing in the country is familiar, including the food, the language, and the customs. But before Azari can hope to settle in and regain “freedom I never knew I had,” she and her mother must endure International Protection Office interrogations, all while managing fear and uncertainty around the future. This soulful narrative follows Azari’s struggles reconciling her longing for her home with the knowledge that she is seeking asylum to escape a physically abusive uncle and father, a potential arranged marriage, and a lack of educational opportunities for women. A powerful story featuring resourceful women bravely making their way toward safety and hope. Ages 10–13. (Jan.)