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Illegal
A powerfully moving graphic novel by New York Times bestselling author Eoin Colfer and the team behind the Artemis Fowl graphic novels that explores the current plight of undocumented immigrants.Ebo is...
A powerfully moving graphic novel by New York Times bestselling author Eoin Colfer and the team behind the Artemis Fowl graphic novels that explores the current plight of undocumented immigrants.Ebo is...
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  • A powerfully moving graphic novel by New York Times bestselling author Eoin Colfer and the team behind the Artemis Fowl graphic novels that explores the current plight of undocumented immigrants.

    Ebo is alone.His brother, Kwame, has disappeared, and Ebo knows it can only be to attempt the hazardous journey to Europe, and a better life—the same journey their sister set out on months ago.

    But Ebo refuses to be left behind in Ghana. He sets out after Kwame and joins him on the quest to reach Europe. Ebo's epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his family.

About the Author-

  • Eoin Colfer worked as a primary school teacher before becoming a full-time writer. He spent four years between 1992 and 1996 working in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Italy. His first book, Benny and Omar, was based on his experiences in Tunisia. In 2001, the first book in the bestselling Artemis Fowl series was published. Over the years, his works have been named a Book Sense Book of the Year nominee, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist, and a Virginia Readers' Choice Award nominee. Eoin lives in Ireland with his family. Learn more at eoincolfer.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 30, 2018
    This achingly poignant graphic novel by Colfer and Donkin, collaborators on the Artemis Fowl graphic novels, imagines how one Ghanaian orphan ends up adrift in the Mediterranean. Ebo’s older sister Sisi is already in Europe, and he knows his brother Kwame is headed there, too, so Ebo sets out to find him. It’s clear that he succeeds, because the story opens on a scene of the two brothers drifting without food or water on the ocean. But in flashbacks, they see Ebo searching for Kwame in a teeming refugee hub in Niger. Punchy dialogue and wistful narration note both Ebo’s poverty and his gifts: optimism (“I’m stronger than I look,” he tells a boss), a talent for singing, and initiative (he parlays a box of wet wipes into cash by selling them one by one). Water is precious, and Ebo and Kwame endure periods of intense thirst. Rigano brings the brothers’ struggle close, but his magnificent panels include moments of beauty, too. Clouds tower above the ocean, and starry skies light the desert. Refugees, readers will understand, are not statistics; everyone is an individual. Ages 10–up. Agent: Susannah Palfrey, Hachette Children’s Group. (Aug.)■

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2018

    Gr 6-8-Twelve-year-old Ebo's tale doesn't begin on the raft on his way to Europe. It doesn't begin as he works in the streets of Tripoli, Libya, to earn his fare. It doesn't begin with the journey across the Sahara or even in his home of Ghana. It starts when his brother, Kwame, leaves home to find their sister, Sisi, long departed for Europe. Not content with a life of poverty, Ebo, too, takes off, close on his brother's heels. Colfer and Donkin gloss over nothing in their portrayal of undocumented immigration, from illness and violence to poverty and corruption. Throughout the months of hard labor he must endure to pay for a ticket, sleeping outdoors and depending on the kindness of strangers, Ebo remains determined. Rigano's dynamic images keep readers on the edge of their seats, and the portrayal of tenacious Ebo is elegant but unromanticized. In a scene toward the end, in which rescue is uncertain, the authors firmly assert that no human is illegal; Ebo says, "They must help us, we are people." The novel concludes with a starkly illustrated true account of an immigrant who faced trauma in her quest for a better life. VERDICT A thrilling and moving addition to any collection, and ideal supplemental reading in classes where students are studying immigration.-Anna Murphy, Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from June 1, 2018
    Ebo is known across his village for his beautiful singing voice, but will his voice keep him safe in his journey to the shores of Europe? Readers follow the flight of Ebo, a Ghanaian refugee child, to Europe to find the siblings who fled before him. Ebo's journey takes him across the scorching heat of the Sahara and through the streets of Tripoli, where he works to raise funds for passage across the Mediterranean. All the while, Ebo and the companions he meets along the way must elude the watchful eyes of the authorities who are constantly on alert for refugees. But after Ebo finally saves enough money and secures a seat on a boat crossing to Greece, he finds himself on the brink of death. Like all the others, it is too crowded; the engine is broken; and the fuel is slowly running out. Authors and illustrator take readers back and forth through time, building suspense as Ebo's story of survival unfolds. The format allows sensitive and difficult topics such as murder, death, and horrific, traumatizing conditions to unfold for children, Ebo's reactions speaking volumes and dramatic perspectives giving a sense of scope. A creators' note provides factual context, and an appendix offers an Eritrean refugee's minimemoir in graphic form.Action-filled and engaging but considerate of both topic and audience, Ebo's story effectively paints a picture of a child refugee's struggle in a world crisscrossed by hostile borders. (Graphic fiction. 10-15)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from July 1, 2018
    Grades 6-9 *Starred Review* Ten-year-old Ebo has lost his parents, his Uncle Patrick is always drunk, and his older sister Sisi is missing. And then his older brother Kwame vanishes to search for Sisi and find a better life in Europe. With nothing left tying him to their tiny Ghanaian village, Ebo boards a bus to Agadez, Niger, determined he'll somehow reunite with Kwame. Nineteen months later, Ebo and Kwame, with 12 others in a leaking dinghy made for six, are desperately trying to reach Italian shores. The brothers have endured a harrowing journey through the Sahara Desert to Tripoli, Libya, hoping to cross the Mediterranean and land as refugees. The horrors Ebo witnesses and the impossibilities he survives constitute a haunting testimony to the human spirit. Artemis Fowl creator Colfer (who taught elementary school in Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) leads the team that was also behind the Artemis Fowl graphic adaptation in transforming staggering statistics (UNHCR's 2017 data cites 65.6-million have been forcibly displaced) into a resonating story about a single boy and what remains of his family. Italian artist Rigano's gorgeously saturated panels?rich in detail, affecting in captured expressions, with landscapes made spectacular as a reminder of everyday beauty despite tragedy?prove to be an enhancing visual gift to the already stirring story. A creators' note and quotes from real refugees round out this illuminating, important volume.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

  • VOYA Magazine "Raw, realistic, and emotional, this graphic novel puts a harrowing spin on immigration and the risks people take to seek opportunities in other countries.... This graphic novel...makes truths about humanity abundantly clear with the frightening situations and tragic outcomes conveyed through the narrative, emotive illustrations, and the true story in the last five pages. Middle and high schools can use this book in curriculum and recommend it to comic enthusiasts."
  • Booklist, STARRED Review "The horrors Ebo witnesses, the impossibilities he survives, are haunting testimony to the human spirit. Artemis Fowl series creator Colfer (who taught elementary school in Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) leads the team... in transforming staggering statistics (UNHCR's 2017 data cites 65.6 million have been forcibly displaced) into a resonating story about a single boy and what remains of his family. Italian artist Rigano's gorgeously saturated panels-rich in details, affecting in its captured expressions, landscapes made spectacular as if a reminder of everyday beauty despite tragedy-proves to be an enhancing visual gift to the already stirring story. A creators' note and quotes from real refugees close out this illuminating, important volume. "
  • Kirkus, STARRED Review "Action-filled and engaging but considerate of both topic and audience, Ebo's story effectively paints a picture of a child refugee's struggle in a world crisscrossed by hostile borders."
  • ForeWord, STARRED Review "Moving and informative, Illegal puts an unforgettable human face to the issue of immigration; it is recommended for all readers of middle school level or higher."
  • Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review "Achingly poignant graphic novel"
  • School Library Journal "A thrilling and moving addition to any collection, and ideal supplemental reading in classes where students are studying immigration."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Illegal powerfully visualizes the current struggles being faced by refugees and emigrants...through stunning, intimate visuals"

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