Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees

Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
Written by Mary Beth Leatherdale, Illustrated by Eleanor Shakespeare

Publisher’s Summary:
Travel from pre-World War II Europe right to present-day North Africa, and experience the harrowing real journeys of five young people who fled their homes, risking their lives on the open seas to seek refuge elsewhere. In vivid and riveting detail, each storyteller reveals how he or she was forced to leave behind everything familiar in search of peace and security. And how, with enormous courage and remarkable resilience, each overcame horrific obstacles and found hope in what life can be.

Primary Source Pairing:
Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees reads like a scrapbook but one where the top documented is mired with challenge, death, devastation, and the will to survive. Through the stories of Ruth, Phu, José, Najeeba, and Mohamed we learn of their harrowing experiences to escape to a better life. Primary source photographs, maps, pulled hand-written text, and timelines illuminate the lives of these refugees. It is hard to describe how such a stark topic can be beautifully illustrated, but Eleanor Shakespeare has done just that. For this primary source pairing, use the book itself as a visual literacy experience. Encourage students to study each and every page for the details about the refugee, to understand the time period, and to geographically place the journey on a world map. Use the reader’s bookmark with students as the learning environment allows.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Visually explore the entire page.
  • Examine the primary source, map, illustration, or written text.
  • What do you notice first?
  • How does the illustration connect with what you are reading?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • How does this primary source help you follow the journey of the people in this book?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
StormySeas_ReadersBookmark: Created by JMarek

Related Primary Source Pairings:
Refugee, Written by Alan Gratz
Night Diary, Written by Veera Hiranandani