Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

Refugee Boy

Written by Benjamin Zephaniah

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Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.

Haunting, tragic and distressing in what it reveals about man’s inhumanity to man, Refugee Boy is also an affirming story of one boy’s amazing courage and several other individual’s goodness and integrity. Caught up in the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Alem’s life is in danger at home. To make sure he survives, Alem’s father brings him to Britain and abandons him to seek asylum and find a new and better life. The story of how Alem retains his dignity and independence in the most challenging of circumstances while also adapting to the demands of a new life is strongly told.

Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.


Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

Alem, the product of an Ethiopean father and Eritrean mother, is left alone in London, his fate resting in the hands of the Refugee Council and the British justice system. This story charts Alem's fate as he is moved from children's home to foster family, and in and out of court hearings.


'[The] story of a young Ethiopian boy, whose parents abandon him in London to save his life.' - Katy Guest, literary editor for The Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Benjamin Zephaniah

Poet, novelist and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah was born on 15 April 1958. He grew up in Jamaica and the Handsworth district of Birmingham, England, leaving school at 14. He moved to London in 1979 and published his first poetry collection, Pen Rhythm, in 1980. Benjamin Zephaniah is an internationally renowned performance poet and acclaimed author of bestselling YA novels: FACE, GANGSTA RAP, TEACHER’S DEAD, REFUGEE BOY and TERROR KID.

He has been Writer in Residence at the Africa Arts Collective in Liverpool and Creative Artist in Residence at Cambridge University, and was a candidate for the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. He holds an honorary doctorate in Arts and Humanities from the University of North London (1998), was made a Doctor of Letters by the University of Central England (1999). Benjamin lives in Lincolnshire.

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Book Info


Paperback (b Format)
304 pages


Benjamin Zephaniah
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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Publication date

28th August 2001




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