REFUGEE by Alan Gratz CYBILS 📚🎶

2017 MGLit Fiction winner


by Shannon Stocker
illustrated by Devon Holzwarth


Winner – Middle Grade Fiction
2017 CYBILS Awards

The Book

Middle Grade Fiction
historical fiction, realistic fiction, war

Three children, three countries, three points in history. Three stories in one. Refugee by Alan Gratz is an important story for our times. The writing is tension-filled and although the young characters are fictional, the facts surrounding their terror are real. Set in different decades, each of the three stories detail the harrowing journey of a family as they attempt to escape an otherwise dangerous situation. Author Alan Gratz is artful in the way the separate plots interconnect and overlap. Circumstances are not glossed over or made any easier in fiction than they are for actual refugees of the past and present.

The story pointedly shows that the refugee crisis has been with us longer than most kids realize. It’s also a challenging book, but with short chapters and cliffhanger endings it’s one they will really want to read. This Cybils Middle-Grade Fiction winner is a moving experience. It won’t be a book you’ll soon forget.

Blurb by the 2017 CYBILS Awards Middle-Grade Fiction Panel, Round 2


The Music

Alan Gratz’s Refugee is an impactful story weaving together narratives from three different children as they fight against crisis for a better future. The songs in this playlist aim to address a cultural, political, or social point presented in the book.

The playlist itself is arranged to flip between languages and cultures similar to how the story switches between different time periods and characters within the book itself. I hope you enjoy Refugee as much as I do and learn more about the true nature and history of the refugee crisis through these powerful historically based narratives.

The Girl

Riya Fernando

Riya is thrilled to be able to combine two of her favorite things: books and music. She is an avid reader who can often be found with her nose in a murder mystery while listening to contemporary piano music, her favorite genre of piano music to listen to and play. She was introduced to CYBILS Awards through her mother, Category Chair and CYBILS Awards Board Member, who helped Riya cultivate her love for books. She hopes that others will love these playlists as much as she does!