Nowhere Boy (Roaring Brook Press, 2018) by Katherine Marsh is a fascinating tale of two boys whose lives intersect in Brussels, Belgium. Ahmed is fourteen and from Syria, and all alone. Max is thirteen and from America. From different cultures and struggling with both sides of the refugee question, the boys form a bond of friendship.
Don’t pass this book up. It’s a 2019 Bank Street Best Children’s Book and a 2019 American Library Association Notable. See other praise here.
Read about author Katherine Marsh here. Katherine is not afraid to venture into difficult subjects in her books. I recommended one here. I need to read her other middle grade books, too.
Jepp, Who Defied the Stars (Hyperion, 2012) by Katherine Marsh was eye-opening for me. I had no idea that dwarfs were treated so badly.
Jepp, who has always lived with his mother at their inn, has been offered a chance to go to Coudenberg Palace. He takes it and then finds he is to be humiliated to serve as entertainment for the Spanish Infanta and her royal court. He and the other dwarfs are held prisoner and live at the whims of those around them. However, this intelligent young man doesn’t resignedly accept his fate.
The story was inspired by real characters in history and the author’s mother’s interest in astrology. Read more here.
I encourage anyone who starts reading this book and finds the formality of the writing a bit off-putting to push through–soon you’ll not notice it at all as you become engrossed in the story.