I had this book in Dutch a few months, maybe longer, but couldn’t get into it. Thankfully, one of the libraries finally added it in English to their collection. Of course I had to bring it home to see if this time I could read it. And well, I loved it. It was a beautiful written book with a very likeable character.
I just adored how our MC immediately decided to become friends with Ahmet and that she brought him fruits and sweets to make him happy. That was just so adorable and sweet. I loved how her friends also wanted to become friends and did the same thing. I loved how easily they embraced Ahmet in their group and how they were there for him to help him out.
The plans of the kids were dangerous but also very sweet. It is very brave of them to do those things for Ahmet. They could have let the adults handle it but instead they decided it was time to do it themselves before it was too late. Sure, I wouldn’t encourage any kids their age to do the same thing, but this is fiction. I had a laugh that they also had presents with them for the Queen, they really take no chances.
The author wrote the kids really well. Sometimes with children’s books the kids don’t come across as the age that is mentioned, but these kids were their age.
I liked how the parents and the teachers took their time to explain what was happening to the kids, especially the MC’s mom was perfect with this. She showed some newspapers, she explained, and also talked with her daughter on what she thought about this. And after the event with the big plan I loved how the adults protected the kids and patiently told them what to do (No comment!) and what not to do.
Ahmet, oh he was just such a wonderful character though I had some tears due to what he has experienced. His story was just so sad (though I had a laugh because of the innocence of the MC and her reactions to the story). I loved seeing him get more and more comfortable with his new environments, and how hard he was trying to learn English. I was happy to see him open up more and find his place in this new home.
I loved that the mom and MC had (Extra) Special Adventures. Meaning they had a whole day to do all sorts of things, whatever the MC would like to do. From finding a special fruit to getting stationery and other stuff for school. It was just the sweetest thing, especially since mom worked so much due to dad dying years and years ago.
The ending had me in tears that was just so beautiful and it just made me smile.
The book also had a few illustrations here and there. I do think something went wrong on the formatting of a few of them. I had a few pages that just cut off halfway and on the next page would have the illustration.
I have to say that I was surprised when I read “your daughter” on page 226, saw her name on page 293 (Alexa) and when I saw the girl joining Ahmet at the last page. I thought that our MC was a boy! I am sorry. Given everything I just thought this was a little boy who was talking. I am sorry if this is terrible, but it is how it is.
Again, as I have said in other books with teachers in them, if you hate kids or if you don’t want to be a teacher, then find another job. Mr. Irons was a horrible horrible person who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children. The things he did, and the things he didn’t. Holy crap. He should have been fired a long time ago. I am sure someone has seen this behaviour for years. I cannot imagine it magically popped up.
The bullying also put me off from things and along with the teacher caused me to give this book 0.5 stars less. I am sorry, I am a big no no against bullying, and then especially when bullies seem to get away quite often with the crap they pull. I am happy with the ending, HOWEVER, I would have liked some more repercussions for the boys. Because bullies will be bullies.
But in overall, this was a gorgeous book about refugees, finding a home to belong, feeling safe, friendship, and more. I would recommend it.