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Boy, Everywhere

Written by A. M. Dassu

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Boy, Everywhere Review

Debuts of the Month Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 13+ readers Fiction PSHE Titles Gritty Reads Star Books

Read this book – it’s needs to be in classrooms and bookshelves across the country – it will change you and stay with you

Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | Winner of the Little Rebels Award 2021 | November 2020 Debut of the Month

Sami is a very ordinary 13-year-old boy, attending school, playing football, PlayStation and has his own iPad – the only thing different about Sami is that he lives in Damascus. As the war in Syria creeps closer, until a bombing of a local mall affects his family, everything has been good. Now Sami and his family have to leave their home, their friends and their beloved Jadda (grandmother) – not just to move to another town but to start a long and perilous journey to the safety of the other side of the world – to England. 


The journey, and therefore the story, are not for the fainthearted – Dassau tells the story of the journey, the fear and the privations authentically and we vividly share Sami’s upset, anger and fear throughout every page. The portrait drawn of the family in such a stressed and frightening situation has the reader on the edge of their seat and pulling at our hearts all the way through.  


Written with a deep understanding and meticulous research into similar journeys this is a book that will not leave you for a very long time. The switches from adversity to hope to despair in Sami keep your heart in your mouth and is so realistic I was raging at the government for its inhuman treatment of desperate refugees. Read this book – it’s needs to be in classrooms and on bookshelves everywhere – it will change you and stay with you.

Tricia Adams

Other Info

Little Rebels Award Judge, Darren Chetty, said, “Boy, Everywhere is everything that I look for in a Little Rebels book – it’s politically interesting, it’s timely, but first and foremost it’s beautifully written. Often with political books we forget that aspect…that the writing itself needs to sing and it really does in this book.”

Boy, Everywhere Synopsis

This debut middle-grade novel chronicles the harrowing journey taken by Sami and his family from privilege to poverty, across countries and continents, from a comfortable life in Damascus, via a smuggler's den in Turkey, to a prison in Manchester. A story of survival, of family, of bravery ...

In a world where we are told to see refugees as the 'other', this story will remind readers that 'they' are also 'us'.

Boy, Everywhere Press Reviews

Poignant and powerful… An impressive, thoughtful debut… Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

It’s a brave book, and an important one, but it’s also a great read and I think there’s nothing else like it for that age group. This is going to be on my list of top recommendations for 2020. Dawn Finch, children’s author and librarian. 

... a story that everyone should read, written with empathy, tenderness and hope. -- Patrice Lawrence

Sami's story is gripping, heart-breaking and realistic, told with devastating clarity and compassion. This perspective is urgently needed, showing the richness of the lives left behind in Syria as the war forces a terrible journey to safety. -- Liz Flanagan

I was hooked on Sami's story and my heart was in my throat from the very beginning of the book. A.M. Dassu's writing is gripping and emotive and she manages a perfect balance of tragedy, adversity and hope. -- Swapna Haddow

It's amazing. It's like she was amongst us. It's like she's been living here. She knows how people think and react... -- Mohammad Ghabash

Thank you for writing this... 'Boy, Everywhere' challenges stereotypes and shows the reality of Syrians before the war. I loved the characters, they were very realistic and so convincing, the friendships so real. Such a good story - a brilliant novel. -- Nadine Kaadan

I felt thoroughly harrowed (as indeed I should). Such an important book - and so timely. -- Tanya Landman

Sami is such a relatable character, the voice is so perfect, and seeing their journey from his perspective really brings to life anything a child reading might have heard about refugees. I had my heart in my throat for so much of the story, but I also smiled. A brilliantly crafted debut. -- Caroline Fielding

Sami's story is heartbreaking and will open people's eyes and hearts to the plight of refugees everywhere. In a world of 'othering' this book does the opposite - it shows clearly that 'they' are also 'us'. -- Catherine Emmett

Good books leave you a little bit changed. 'Boy, Everywhere' made me want to change the world. Everyone should read this book. -- Kathryn Evans

An adventure for our times. Full of heart, and with an understanding of the humanity of all people, and the complexity of the decision to leave one's beloved home to start all over again somewhere strange and difficult. Funny, moving, exciting, enraging by turns, I read most of it through my fingers as the plot twisted and turned to its uplifting but realistic conclusion. A must-read for everybody. -- Joanna de Guia

Such a realistic story. Sami could be my son, daughter or any of their friends. -- Mayida Yord

Surprised by the number of realistic details this book has, I was full with emotions reading it. It marks the truth of our sad reality here in Syria, and most importantly shows the message we always wanted to blurt out but couldn't, we aren't happy we came to your land, we were forced to... I really like this book, with all its heartwarming, dramatically realistic events that would definitely move something in you. I hope it gets the attention it deserves, we need it. -- Layla Jazairy

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781910646649
Publication date: 22/10/2020
Publisher: Old Barn Books
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781910646649
Publication date: 22nd October 2020
Author: A. M. Dassu
Publisher: Old Barn Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 288 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 13+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Fiction PSHE Titles, Gritty Reads
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month, Reluctant Readers, Star Books
Collections: Diverse Voices - 80 Children's Books that Celebrate Difference, Our favourite children's books of 2020, Refugees - 40 books to raise awareness,

About A. M. Dassu

A.M. Dassu is the Deputy Editor of SCBWI-BI's Words and Pictures magazine and a Director of Inclusive Minds. In 2017 she won the international We Need Diverse Books YA mentorship award. Her work has been published by The Huffington Post, TES, SCOOP, Lee & Low and DK Books. 'Boy, Everywhere' is her debut novel and she has used her publishing advances to assist Syrian refugees in her city and set up a grant to support an unpublished refugee or immigrant writer.

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