The Bone Sparrow

The Bone Sparrow : shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017

4.09 (2,305 ratings by Goodreads)
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Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction prize and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017.

Perfect for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. This is a beautiful, vivid and deeply moving story about a refugee boy who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre. This novel reminds us all of the importance of freedom, hope, and the power of a story to speak for anyone who's ever struggled to find a safe home.

'...a special book' - Morris Gleitzman, author of the acclaimed ONCE series

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he's at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie.

Carrying a notebook that she's unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck - both talismans of her family's past and the mother she's lost - Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence.

As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie's family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 131 x 206 x 22mm | 316g
  • Orion Children's Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1510101543
  • 9781510101548
  • 139,010

Review quote

This story was heartbreaking, wonderful and devastating at the same time ... I would definitely recommend this book -- Iram Nawaz, Forrester High * Teen Titles * Lyrical, whimsical and magical, this beautiful book explores the power of storytelling * WRD About Books * I think The Bone Sparrow was really good and I would give it 5 stars -- Adam, aged 9 * Aquila Magazine * You would be hard pushed to find a book more harrowing and relevant than this one ... This book is a tough but beautiful read and is a perfect introduction to a really difficult topic * Inis * This is one of those novels which has to be written despite the pain and horror of its subject matter ... Subhi and Jimmie are drawn together and emotionally sustained by the power of stories and the written word and that's a powerful message * School Librarian * A beautiful story of hope and friendship * WRD About Books * This year many books have been published that tell sad stories about refugee children -- this is the best * The Times * A profoundly poignant novel * Metro (Across UK) * Deeply moving novel * Aldershot News & Mail * Stories can change how people think and this book aims to do just that * Irish Times * Cleverly imagined and very affecting * Belfast Telegraph * With an affecting and distinctive narrative voice ... she builds a convincing and complete world. Moving and memorable, The Bone Sparrow deserves to be read by all who care about our common humanity * The Guardian * The Bone Sparrow is already drawing comparisons with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. The language captures the children's confusion, their hope mixed with worry over their families and dreams of freedom, but the novel doesn't flounder in abject misery when it easily could * Yorkshire Post * Stories can change how people think and this book aims to do just that * Claire Hennessey, IRISH TIMES * The story of Subhi, sensitively told and immensely moving, gives us a glimpse of what homeless, imprisoned existence life feels like... and how the hope invested in a vision of a better future can end up being the difference between making it out, and surrendering to despair. * The Big Issue * One of those rare, special books that will break your heart with its honesty and beauty, but is ultimately hopeful and uplifting * Book Trust * This is quite simply a heart-rending, beautiful story... the story is woven by an author who is clearly passionately wanting to address an issue that is now so prevalent in our world; surely it cannot be ignored. This is a book that will make change happen. * Reading Zone * The Bone Sparrow - a vital and necessary book - should be in all schools throughout the UK and in the hand of every politician! -- Sean Edwards, YLG Librarian So beautiful. And so important... encourages empathy. For kids and adults alike! * The Book Addict blog * This book made me cry in Temple Gardens at page 21. Loving it * Grass for Dinner Blog * A heart-rending, beautiful story. From the first line I knew that I would be utterly moved by the words written so passionately, weaving a narrative that is at times difficult to read. This is a book that will make change happen * The Book Activist blog * What a powerful story. Detention camps are no place for children. No place for humans. -- Clare Hall-Craggs * Book Trust * Think of it as a powerful polemic, yes, but also think of it as a story of the redeeming power of friendship and the vital nature of storytelling * The Bookbag * An incredibly moving and powerful story about hope, freedom and survival. This is such an important topic, and a heart-achingly realistic story - everyone, both teenagers and adults, should read it. -- Rachel Meier, Waterstones Canterbury * * Zana Fraillon's powerful and poetic tale of friendship in the face of injustice will fly away with your heart. * Katharine Marsh, Edgar Award-winning author of THE NIGHT TOURIST * The writing is beautiful and the message of survival and bravery a universal one * THE BOOKSELLER * While addressing themes of loss, desperation, and injustice in an all-too-relevant setting, Fraillon's resonant novel underscores the healing power of story. * Starred Review from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY * a profoundly poignant novel about what it means to live as a refugee, neither inside nor out * METRO * This is a tragic, beautifully crafted and wonderful book whose chirpy, stoic hero shames us all. I urge you to read it * THE INDEPENDENT * A contender for the children's book of the year... It is a heartrending tale about how our stories make us, and also an angry polemic, vividly convincing in is detailed description of what it means for your home to be a tent in the dust behind a guarded fence. * The Sunday Times * Outstanding . . . This is an important, heartbreaking book with frequent, unexpected humour, that everyone, whether teenager or adult, should read. * THE GUARDIAN * ...a special book * Morris Gleitzman, author of the acclaimed ONCE series *
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About Zana Fraillon

Zana Fraillon lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and three sons. She worked as a primary school teacher before having children, and has had picture books and middle grade fiction published in Australia.
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Rating details

2,305 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 39% (888)
4 39% (901)
3 17% (402)
2 4% (85)
1 1% (29)
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