The Crossing by Manjeet Mann
For Refugee Week 2022 (20th-26th June) people are being invited to perform a simple act inspired by the theme “Healing”. A simple act is an everyday action we can all do to stand with refugees and make new connections with our communities. I’d like to suggest reading this book, The Crossing by Manjeet Mann, as your simple act.
You might recognise the name of the author, as her previous book, Run, Rebel has been one of my previous Books of the Month. Like Run, Rebel, this book is written in the very accessible verse novel style. It tells the story of a promising swimmer, Natalie, who is struggling after her mother’s death. Her family is falling apart as her father, unable to cope with this grief, cannot keep them afloat financially and her brother is being lured into the grimy world of Far Right extremists. Then there is Sammy, an Eritrean refugee. Sammy and his best friend Tesfay, have decided to make the perilous journey to the UK, to be reunited with a cousin.
Their lives are narrated in parallel but on the page, Nat and Sammy complete each other’s stories. Words and phrases unite the two points of view and we are reminded that, as humans, all our lives are connected.
This is a beautifully told and haunting account of two teenagers struggling with loss. The immediacy of the verse style makes this an emotional read and the story doesn’t shy away from the very real tragedies of the refugee crisis.
Other stories of refugees:
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassau