Drawing on her own experience of working among refugee families, author and illustrator Sarah Garland composed her graphic novel for children, Azzi in Between. In an unnamed Middle Eastern country, the young schoolgirl Azzi's family is endangered due to a conflict and is forced to escape in the dead of the night. Her courage and resilience are tested as she ends up in a new country and has to navigate in a language she does not know.
When asked why she felt compelled to write this book, Garland explains, "In the winter of 2009 I went to live in a small and remote city in New Zealand, in order to write a novel. Soon I began to notice groups of anxious looking adults in the streets with children whose faces were grave and withdrawn. I discovered that these were refugee families, mainly from Burma, who had fled through the jungle to camps in Thailand, and had now arrived to be re-settled in the city. Haunted by those bewildered faces, I tried to think of some way I could help those children, set down as they were in an alien culture, in a totally strange country."
Below is a short excerpt from Azzi in Between when the family is forced to flee early in the novel.
Sarah Garland is a much-loved author and illustrator who has published more than 40 books. She lives in Gloucestershire.
These excerpts have been published with the permission of Francis Lincoln Children's Books, London.