Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Omar is a twelve-year-old boy whose life is turned upside down by the civil war that erupts in his country of Syria. His family—his government-working father, stay-at-home mother, elder sister Eman, older brother Musa who suffers from cerebral palsy, and a younger brother and sister—must endure many frightening experiences before finally finding themselves in a refugee camp and eventually being extracted to Britain. From their home town of Bosra to Daraa, to the countryside, and eventually to a refugee camp in Jordan, the family endures. Along the way, Omar's brother Musa gets involved with revolutionaries, the family gets split up, and Baba—the patriarch of the family—is killed.
From the outset, with the war going on in the background, the relationships between the siblings are depicted in a real and relatable way. The rich characterizations add depth to the story. Though Musa, who is disabled, is ridiculed and underappreciated, he is a respected member of his school community. Omar, who sees himself as the underdog in his family, proves himself resourceful and canny, having good business sense and supporting his family in seen and unseen ways. Omar feels constrained by his culture but wants desperately to support his sister, whose life choices are not her own. In the end, the family finds themselves able to leave the war-torn area and go to Britain.