April 12, 2018

MARWAN'S JOURNEY

Marwan's Journey by Patricia de Arias and Laura Borras sheds a light on displaced peoples and the struggles they endure to find safety in unfamiliar places.


Marwan's Journey originally published back in 2016 in Chile, and it's haunting how universal the story is two years later. This book is told through the eyes of a boy forced to leave his home in the dead of night. Like many refugees, he can only bring with him the things he can carry on his person: worn-out clothing, a prayer book, a pencil, and a photo of his mother. Sadly, this child is old enough to remember the days when his mother was alive and he was warm and safe, the days before "they" came in the night and took away his home and homeland. What's made worse is that this caravan of people doesn't have a destination in mind. Thousands of people fleeing their homes with nowhere to go because war has devastated their homes. They are forced into being reactionary, taking every moment one step at a time as they leave their homeland in search of the promise of a better, safer life. 


Magically, though, along the way, these people find ways to enjoy themselves and tap into their culture. Whether they are putting on airs for the sake of the children or just trying to make the passage of time more tolerable for themselves, we see that even in these dark times there is levity because these people are together: they are working hard as a people to keep their culture alive. They sing songs, cook traditional meals as best as they can, and promise to return home one day to rebuild their fallen homes. No amount of bad dreams or aching feet can ever deter them from remembering who they are and where they come from, and the boy's thoughts toward the end of the book about returning home one day to plant a garden and reinvigorate his homeland are hopeful and promising.


Marwan's Journey publishes May 1, 2018 from Minedition.



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