November 24

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

No safe placeThe novel titled “No Safe Place” is about a teenager named Abdul. He grew up in a country filled with war. At a young age Abdul lost both of his parents in war in his home country of Iraq. As Abdul attempts to travel to a new country he meets new friends along the way. He also meets people that are not so good. His goal is to get to England. As he travels to England he goes through a lot of difficult situations, such as trying to keep an ill child alive as his uncle attempted to kill him.

This story has messages that are relatable to the real world, such as the struggle of leaving war torn countries to be able to start a new life in a country that doesn’t have such issues. The story is also relatable to people that are in their teen years, because it shows people with characteristics such as having bravery and also having the courage to lead others to a safer place. These characteristics are important and appealing to people in their teenage years because as they grow older they might be called upon to be a school leader.

I would recommend this book to people who are teenagers or people who are in their early twenties because this book contains helpful insights to life and teaches these people about important characteristics that might come into play later in their lives. I would rate this book a 3/5. It was not a book that I personally enjoyed, however you may enjoy the book yourself so try it out for yourself.

Harrison H, Year 9


No Safe Place is a book written by Deborah Ellis. A 15-year-old boy Abdul goes on a long and dangerous journey to England in hope of a new place where he hopes to find a job and live. However he must take many risks in the process.

Does this sound like the kind of book you love to read? If you like action and adventure then this is the book for you.

Abdul is from a small war-torn town near Baghdad. If he can get to England things will change for him. He sets out on a smuggler’s boat in hope of reaching a nice new city of Liverpool where he can then restart his life.

On his way to England Abdul meets new people at first who he does not trust or like. However gets stuck at sea with them so he has to work and trust them in order to succeed.

Abdul is a 15-year-old boy who is confident and has a lot of hope. Abdul has very little trust in people and takes a lot of risks. Cheslav is a 16-year-old Russian boy and is the more heroic leader kind of guy. He too is in hope of reaching England to restart over. Rosalia is a 16-year-old girl. She is the wisest one out of them all. She does not trust or care about any of the others. Jonah is an 8-year-old boy. He is the youngest. He is the smuggler’s nephew, who is afraid and uncertain about things.

I liked this book so much because it ticks all the boxes. I loved the plot of the story and how interesting it all was and how it never bored me. I recommend this book for both teenager and adults and anyone who enjoys an adventurous story.

Michael. B   Year 9


Have you ever felt stranded and isolated? How would you cope? This is the story of Abdul, a young man given a task: to survive. Deborah Ellis perfectly describes each detail of this captivating novel. She emphases on the small but intense question… “What is it like to be a refugee?”

The events that occur within this novel are certainly shape your outlook towards the character and it certainly creates a unique bond between you and the numerous main characters that are fighting for a chance for survival.

The situations he is placed in by the author immerse you in the action and make you feel as if you are within the same situation as the main characters. Near the beginning of the narrative the story starts to give a moral to the story. Through controversy comes friendship.

The book in itself is a very easy read, aimed at ages 12-16 plus. It uses basic and easily understandable vocabulary, and describes scenes in a very complex but easy manner by the addition of some bigger words. In addition to the creative narrative writing the way the story is interpreted through the reader was clearly a key focus to the author so that a sense of immersion could be established.

Overall the story is definitely worth a read. It has a great story that will instantly draw you into the narrative and it is also a relatable read for most ages. In my opinion the book does drag on a bit but right towards the end of the novel the story is resolved and it turns out that through all of the hardship and work by the main characters, and all the stress, the characters finally pull through all the controversy and all of their work finally pays off.

Hunter S: Year 9


Have you ever wanted to know what type of hardship and struggle a refugee goes through to get to a foreign country? Have you ever wondered how much one person can lose in a lifetime? No Safe Place, a short novel by Deborah Ellis published in 2011, illustrated this superbly. This novel has taken me on an emotional rollercoaster causing me to never want to put it down.

This is the life story of the true events of Abdul, Rosalia, Cheslav and Jonah, all originating from completely different backgrounds who converge together as refugees on a boat bound for England. ­­­­But in the end it becomes a lot more than just that. The characters go on a journey of a lifetime together.

This book has all of the intense challenges that life can throw at it. These events entice the reader to create a bond with these real people, in real life situations. Ellis has such a simple and easy vocabulary, her books are appealing to teenage readers, but this ability doesn’t lessen the story or the mental images that she can create in the environment of an immigrant. An example of this is how she describes a brutal storm.

This is a survival story with adventure and struggle, following the life of four teenagers who have gone through it all to get to their ‘promised land’.

I would recommend this book to lovers of The Hunger Games series as it has many similarities and there isn’t too much genre difference. The link between these two books is through the survival aspect of the story and how they have to overcome insurmountable odds to survive.

In a supposedly harmonious world that we know, this book demonstrates that not everyone is living such a peaceful life and that elsewhere people experience extreme hardships and struggle to survive on a daily basis. The way that Deborah Ellis has described and designed the story line, in my opinion she has made this a written masterpiece.

I can assure you that I will miss these characters.

Jaiden, Year 9

June 18

‘In the Sea There are Crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

In the sea there are crocodilesThe thing is, I really wasn’t expecting her to go.

If that sounds like the start of a book you would enjoy, then In The Sea There Are Crocodiles is the book for you.

I don’t want to spoil too much about this book. It starts with an 11-year-old boy who has to leave his home village with his mother to go to a whole different place. When he arrives he is thinking that this new place is going to be his new home. Then one night he goes to sleep and when he wakes up his mother has gone, only leaving a message saying that they won’t see each other again. He is left in a alien place where, in order to survive, he has to find a place to stay and a job, but challenges keep coming at him as he tries to find a place that truly feels safe and at home.

He isn’t the only young child looking for a home. Throughout his whole journey he encounters young boys just like him. He travels all over the Middle East and in the different places he goes his story shows how different races are rivals and how others believe that they are better off than the other just because of where they came from.

Once I started to read this book I just wanted to read more and know more about the story. Sometimes I would forget what time it was and found I had been reading for hours. It is a well-written book with descriptive language that gives you a clear picture of what is going on. It was translated well throughout most of the book but sometimes with words that couldn’t be translated I had a bit of trouble. The story was gripping and I found myself thinking that there is no way I would have been able to achieve what he did.

If you hold a wish up high, any wish, just in front of your forehead, than life will be worth living.”

His bravery and his optimism really inspired me.

I would recommend this book to the ages 13-40 as this book is very interesting and the story would capture teen and adults. I would also recommend this to anyone looking for an autobiography with suspense, action, adventure and some parts that reach your heart. I rate this book 9 out of 10.

Xavier Year 8


One night before putting Enaiatollah to bed, his mother tells him three things: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons, and don’t steal. The next morning he wakes up to discover his mother has fled, which puts a bit of a twist on the book. When his mother leaves he really doesn’t know what to say. He is a little bit angry at first but does not know what to do. As he decides to go and skip countries and finds a place to live, Enaiatollah dangerously crosses the borders of Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen and tries to find a place to live.

In Enaiatollah’s story there is Emaiatollah and his mother. His journey starts in Afghanistan and ends in Italy. Enaiatollah’s mother was in fear of the Taliban, so she leads him across borders and countries to start a new life. It took him five years to cross all the way to get to Italy.

Here is a quote from the book: “If you hold a wish up high, any wish, just in front of your forehead, then life will always be worth living.”

I would rate this book 7 out of 10. It was a good book and I would recommend it to people between the ages of 10-13. If you love adventures and good novels I would suggest this book to you. It has lots of surprises, whether he gets found out or not, but there are also has a lot of adventures in this story. I think it was a great book.

Jack H., Year:8


November 11

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

No safe placeThe novel “No safe place” is about a group of young teenagers escaping war and poverty and trying to get to a better place. Both of 15-year-old Abdul’s parents were killed in the war at his home in Iraq, so Abdul travels halfway across the world to try and find a safer place to live. He meets many friends and enemies and acquires many new life skills along the way as he tries to get to England.

This story shows real life events and stories from real life asylum seekers as it is based on a true story. It is relevant to teenagers because it has bravery and leadership, which are great skills to learn at young ages. As this book progresses you can see the problems that occur and how the characters can solve them.

I would recommend this book to older teenagers as it is based around their ages and it would be much harder to understand by younger children. This book is a good read and I would rate it a 4/5. If you enjoyed this book then you would like other books by Deborah Ellis such as “Diego Run” or “Children of war”.

Cameron, Year 9

November 4

‘On Two Feet and Wings’ by Abbas Kazerooni

 On Two feet and wings“I was alone in a foreign country and I did not speak the language. I was, quite simply, terrified.”

If this draws your attention, then you will love the eye opening true story ‘On Two Feet and Wings.’

      The book was set in the bloodiest of times during the Iran-Iraq Wars in the 1950s in Tehran. Abbas was very close to turning ten when his whole world was turned upside down. He had to move to Instabul and live all by himself or he would be forced to join the armed force.

      The main character and also the author of this book is Abbas Kazerooni. He had to say goodbye to his friends, family and everything he loved. He soon learnt how to live by his wits, appreciate what he’s got and to watch his back.

      This book is about a young boy who was sent away to be safe from the bloodiest war yet, the Iran-Iraq War. The book was based on a true story about one courageous young boy, Abbas. He had to grow up fast and basically skip his whole childhood; he was living in a run down hotel all by himself at the age of nine. He managed to find a job, navigated his way through the city, found the best rates for exchanging money and even found himself a friend!

     I really liked this book because it was unbelievable how independent Abbas was at such a young age. It kept me wanting to read more. This book was in no way predictable, unlike other books that I have read in the past. I just couldn’t put it down!

      I would recommend this book to teenagers and young adults from the ages of 13 and 20 or anyone at all that would enjoy an adventure packed, page turning story!

     Tanay, Year 9


     With his 10th birthday approaching, a young man by the name Abbas Kazerooni has to leave everyone and everything that he loves behind when the thought that he may be taken away to war kicks in.

     This story is set in three different countries that include Tehran, Istanbul and England. So it begins, the life of a nine year old boy who does what would seem impossible for any other ordinary child.        Abbas is living what seems to be a normal life until one day his father comes home and tells him he can’t go to school. With growing curiosity, Abbas began to eavesdrop on his parents’ conversations. Soon enough he was told he had to leave his home. He and his mother were to leave for Istanbul where they would be safe, but unfortunately that proposal didn’t go to plan…

     Abbas is a well-behaved kid who likes to have fun and play, but he is also very mature for his age, for example, the way he handled emotional moments and the way he used his age to his advantage. Not only is he the main character in this novel, but he is also a very interesting one. His father, ‘Baba’ to Abbas, was a well brought up man who was a very rich and important man until the government took away almost everything he owned. Further into the book, Abbas meets a man named Murat, a stubborn and very sarcastic man who turns out to Abbas’ closest companion.

     A great read, I would say, a book filled with emotions and adventures. I enjoyed this book a lot because it is based on a true story! It really opened up my mind to the fact that real children around the world would have to go through what Abbas went through. I highly recommend this book to anyone above the age of 12, only because the storyline would be hard to understand if you were younger. As it is such a good read, I would rate this book a 4 out of 5.

 Grace, Year 9


‘On Two Feet And Wings’, the extraordinary true story experienced and written by Abbas Kazerooni. The story is set in multiple surroundings such as England, Afghanistan and Istanbul. Meet Abbas, a 9 year old smart and courageous boy with a future depending on his actions. He survives and travels on his own night and day, with the voice of a mature young boy. His thoughts will leave you crying after every page. If you love true stories that grip you with suspense, ‘On Two Feet And Wings’…is ‘The Book’!

     Laws vary in certain countries, so close to his tenth birthday, Abbas has to leave everything he loves to escape being recruited into the Iran-Iraq war. With his father not being able to leave the country and his mother’s passport declined, Abbas has to travel alone to Istanbul and apply for a visa to England, and from now on has to learn to live by his wits and watch his back. However, with the help of his hotel owner Murat, generous strangers, and the support of his parents, Abbas is helped through the challenging and gut wrenching times. But living in a rundown city at the age of 9, not understanding the language, he is defenseless to his weaknesses, leaving him an easy target for thieves and criminals.

       I was certainly attached to this book by the way that Abbas has very well described each scene in detail, each country’s lifestyle and people’s emotions. The descriptive language made it very easy for me to visualize what characters and settings looked like. The story’s suspense always made me wonder what was going to happen next and by the end made me want to read the next sequence. I recommend this book to both adults and children within the ages of 13 & 25, who are attracted to factual, explanatory stories and enjoy reading secretive, thrilling and inspirational novels. ‘On Two Feet And Wings’ is the most motivating book I have ever read and that should have a movie made out of it. This book is a ‘must read’ and, I’d rate the book ‘On Two Feet And Wings’ 4 out of 5 stars.

Gaby, year 9


     One boy alone and afraid. Can he survive or will he crack under pressure?

     Does this get your attention? If so, then I recommend that you read this book for yourself.

     Abbas is a happy 10-year-old boy living a normal life. Next thing he knows the government is trying to get all the boys his age to help fight in the war. His parents pay for their little boy to leave the country before he is taken to go in the war. He arrives in a foreign Istanbul with a language that he does not speak or understand. His goal is to get to England before running out of money or worse. He has only one person he can trust in this new country, that is the doorman of his hotel. His names is Murat. He helps Abbas by taking care of him and helping him get the essentials he needs to survive in this new country

     I enjoyed the story because of how hard Abbas had to suffer to survive and how he became a responsible and self efficient young boy, even though he was only 10 years old. The book’s language got me imagining how hard it would have been to find places in a foreign country let alone not speaking or understanding the language that it spoken in the country.

     I recommend this book for all ages and genders because it shows how hard this boy has to suffer to get the essentials like food and water the things we have in Australia for granted. This book has heart and mind and true story aspects in it because heart and mind is how hard he has to think and use his mind to get what is in his heart, which is safety and security from a loved one. Based on what I think of the book, On Two feet and wings I rate it 4/5 stars

     Jordan, Year 9.        

November 1

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

No safe place     ‘The sound of piss woke him up’.

     That is definitely not the way I would have thought to start a book but it caught my eye. Immediately wondering where this book is going, I read more.

     This book is based on true events and there is a bit of a mysterious theme to this book because you are wondering what will happen to this group of refugees. 15-year-old Abdul is trying to escape his homeland to England but with a minor inconvenience. He is stuck in France and between him and freedom is the massive open water of the English Channel. To make things worse, the smuggler whowas willing to take him had a change of mind. Abdul has to escape and soon, because the French authorities are catching on to the fact that they have an unwanted refugee sleeping on their park benches.

      So far I am not really into this book. It is an alright book, but it is a bit slow, but if you are willing to wade through a bit of unnecessary information and banter you could get into it. I would recommend this book for the ages of 15 to 19. It gets better, as it goes on, but it is more a serious book and not for the immature of mind.

Isaac, Year 9      


“For those who can’t get on the boat.”

     The novel No Safe Place is about a 15 year old boy named Abdul who sets off on a journey across the English Channel. His adventure begins when he sneaks aboard a boat after being forbidden permission to board. In his story to seek safety on the other side, he makes new found friendships, which makes this book very ‘heart and mind’ with a slight edge as you are engulfed in the troubles that Abdul meets on his way to England.

     It can be seen in the book that the struggles forced upon Abdul and his friends are real life events that are faced by real life asylum seekers. The book gives a feeling of grief and despair at the truth that really is brought to light as you read on through the book.

     The story is very relevant to young teenagers as it shows the bravery and leadership that is needed by the ones strong enough to have the will to survive. As the book progresses, you can understand how people begin to discover themselves through hardships that are endeavored during their lifetimes.

     I would suggest this book being read by older people rather then the ones that are young ,for it is a much harder read to understand for younger children with less life experience of what is going on around them. Although the book is a good read, it has a narrow genre and does not expand much from the areas of war and safety, however if reading about stories of bravery and survival this book is a 4/5 read for a book in its category. If you have already read this book and are interested in reading further about refugees and survival stories, I’d suggest reading other books such as, “Diego Run”, “Three Wishes” and “Off to War. 

     Nathan, Year 9



This is a realistic story of desperation, extreme sadness with parts of joy. This is a thrilling book that will keep you gripped until the satisfying ending. This follows the hardships through the eyes of protagonist Abdul, a 15-year-old boy from Bagdad, trying to get out of Calais and make his way to England. When he gets on the ferry he meets a group of similar aged kids. Through flashbacks from certain characters the story fleshes out the background characters, showing how diverse and in some cases how damaged they are.


On the topic of characters, they are all interesting and only one or two were generic in my opinion; nonetheless I found them interesting. I personally found Cheslav to be my favorite character among them. Without trying to spoil the book, he is almost damaged and is completely single-minded in his goals and needs. He reminds me of the desperate situation that many in the real world are actually going through as we speak. The book really doesn’t hold back when telling you things are getting rough, not holding back from swearing or telling or recalling events of violence against children or religious prejudice. The ending I mentioned earlier is a bit of a quiet one in my mind. This is not at all a bad thing and I think it suits the book completely. Usually I tend to really dislike these endings (I prefer more action in my books) but I find this to be one of the few exceptions.


 Overall I found this book a good read with an interesting story. While a quieter one, it is nonetheless enjoyable. I definitely recommend it to people from 15 years up. If I had to rate the book with stars I would give it 4/5 stars. This is my first read of this author’s books but I am intrigued enough to read more.


Hamish, Year 9

June 7

‘In the sea there are crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

 In the sea there are crocodiles    This international bestseller is the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari.

     Enaiatollah is the main character of ‘In The Sea There Are Crocodiles’. He lives in a small village in Afghanistan, which he calls ‘Nava’ which means ‘gutter’. In early 2000, Afghanistan falls into Taliban rule. This makes great changes in his life.

     Enaiatollah escapes from his family and home with his mother to the border of Pakistan. Then one night, while his mother is putting him to bed, she tells him three things that he must never do in life: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons and don’t steal.The next morning, the ten-year-old boy wakes up and finds out that his mother has disappeared. He knows that he is on the border of Pakistan and he is alone.

     Now, starts the remarkable adventure of the ten-year old boy from Afghanistan to Italy to gain political asylum. His five-year journey takes him through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Greece, border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days, and being stuffed into the bottom of a truck.  Going through all these unimaginable hardships and challenges, will he find a place that he will call home? Will he find happiness in the end? Will he find his family?

     His journey searching for a place called home has become the universal bestseller for teenagers. This story based on Enaiatollah Akbari’s actual life has been categorized fiction because in some parts of the story there are fictional details. But it is a really heart wrenching story that you will never forget. The best part of the book is the childlike perspective the author has written. It helps us teenagers to get more engaged with the book more easily. I truly recommend this book to anyone. You’ll never regret it.  

Ye Jin, Year 8

June 6

‘Once’ by Morris Gleitzman

once     Meet Felix. He’s a Jewish boy who escaped from an orphanage during WW2 to find his parents. Are you the type of person that desperately wants a book that is action packed and is so interesting that even if you were starving and about to have pizza for dinner you would rather read this book? If so, then “Once” is the best book for you.

      A boy named Felix is living in an orphanage in the mountains hiding from the Nazis. He receives a carrot in his bowl of soup and that meant that his parents are coming back to get him. He set off on a dangerous quest to find his parents. He had traveled day and night trying to keep himself away from Nazi trucks and patrol units. He saved a girl named Zelda in a house fire and they set off to the city. He then grouped up with a group of other Jewish kids. They were forced on a train to be taken to the countryside and be killed. Felix and Zelda jumped out of the train and escaped. They then started a new life in the countryside.

     I really found this book interesting and enjoyable. Some of the books that I have read never have new events occurring in the storyline. It is just the same throughout the whole book, but this book had so much action, always something new happening and a very catchy storyline. I could not put the book down. I felt like I was paralyzed and I just had to keep reading the book. I was really impressed with the descriptive language that Morris Gleitzman used to write this book. The scenes just kept popping up in my head. The main characters in the book were Felix and Zelda. The book was so enjoyable to read that I have decided to read some other books by Morris Gleitzman.

I recommend this book to teenagers, between the ages of 13 to 20 who are interested in a true and adventurous book. This book is truly satisfying and is a great read. I would rate this book 5 stars.

Mak B., Year 8


     Felix was just an ordinary boy that lived in an orphanage until he found an entire carrot in his soup and now he is a young boy running for his life from the Nazis.

     If you are interested in suspenseful action books that will grab your attention at any moment, books inspired by real events like the Holocaust then “Once” is just the book for you!


When Felix gets a whole carrot in his soup at the orphanage he thinks it is a sign from his parents that they are coming to get him out of the orphanage. After days of waiting and disappointment he packs his things and leaves to go and find his parents but a lot has happened while he has been in the orphanage and there are many dangers.


     Throughout Felix’s adventure to find his parents, he finds some companions to help him on his way to find his parents. These people include Zelda, Chaya, Barny and some other friends he finds on his way. This story is set in the time period of World War II when Adolf Hitler was the most powerful and feared man of that time. It was during the time when Hitler was killing or destroying anything Jewish. The two main characters in this book are both very courageous but have different traits. Felix is a young boy who is nervous at times but is good at making decisions and Zelda is a girl who is very courageous and much like Felix.


I would recommend this book for kids around the age of 13-16 because it is a very good book but is short and easy to read. I would rate the book “Once” by Morris Gleitzman 4 out of 5 stars because of its good story but it’s a little short. Seth M. Year 8


‘Once I was living in an orphanage in the mountains and I shouldn’t have been and I almost cause a riot…it was because of the carrot…”

     Does this sound like the crazy and interesting book that you might want to read yourself? Then the book “Once” is the book for you

     The story is set in 1942 when Adolf Hitler was holding reign across the country, Felix is a nice, and wondrous young boy looking for adventure and his parents, The life for Felix is nothing but wondering where his parents are. All his life he has dreamed about his mum and dad being with him but now he has to make that dream come true. This journey is full of adventure

     I enjoyed the book “Once” a lot because I thought the story gave us a very good idea of what real life was like for an orphan boy in 1942 when Adolf Hitler ruled, and It summed up how any orphan would feel knowing that their mum and or dad may still be alive and maybe even looking for them as well. I was glued to the story as soon as I started reading it because I thought that the book was quirky and a bit unusual, just like me, so I enjoyed reading the funny parts of the book, the serious parts and even the sad parts, and I have enjoyed the little adventures along the way to finding Felix’s parents.

      I would recommend the book “Once” by Morris Gleitzman to kids of around 10 to 12 years of age and of any gender, boy or girl. I think the boys and the girls all over the world who are funny, crazy, and quirky and sometimes a bit weird would love this serious, funny, and also sad book. This novel is great for the whole family.

     I would rate this book probably a 7 out of 10 stars.

-Ryan C, Year 8


     A little Jewish boy called Felix, who has lived in an orphanage for three years and eight months, escapes the orphanage and risks his life to try and find his parents. Felix was no ordinary boy. He lived in an orphanage but Felix’s parents weren’t dead. They were still alive. So one morning while everyone was eating breakfast he escaped from the orphanage to try and find his parents but for that to happen he would have to risk his own life.

      On the way, Felix has risks that he has to take to get to the city where his parents are. On the way to the city Felix sees some smoke in the distance so he runs over and tries to see if anyone was in there. When he got there he saw a man and a woman next to some dead chickens with bullet holes in them and after Felix rolled across the lawn to get the fire off his clothes, his face was next to a little girl that was laying on her side. When he moves the little girl he finds a big bruise on her forehead. Then Felix hears a loud noise in the distance and he looked down the road and it was two black cars. Felix quickly grabs the little girl and carries her through the smoke towards the fence. As Felix tried to get to the cabbage patch he burns his arm on the hot wire but he pushed through the pain and got the poor little girl hidden safely in the cabbages. Once the cars have driven past Felix tried to ask what her name was but no response. He tried to carry the little girl to safety but he couldn’t carry her for much longer. His body was in pain then in the distance he saw a haystack. Then when Felix wrapped her in the haystack she said, “ Where’s my Mummy and Daddy?” Felix tried to keep the little girl quiet so the Nazi officers wouldn’t hear her.

     I recommend this book for kids and teens around the ages of 8-14. If you are interested in thrillers, crave adventure and like Morris Gleitzman books you would love this book and I would rate this book a 4/5.

 Kamii M, Year 8


Once is an intense and heart-racing book that really works with your emotions, in a good way. Morris Gleitzman, the book’s author, really connected with me when I was reading it. He used the best emotive language I have ever seen. Once is the best book I have ever read!

The book is based around the life of a 10 year old Jewish boy living in a Catholic orphanage where his parents sent him while ‘they got their struggling business back up and running’. They lie to him. They are really hiding him from the advancing German Army. He escapes the orphanage and goes on a wild quest to find his parents, who have disappeared from town. On the way he finds a friend who will help guide him along this crazy path.

I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil the book but the end is intense.  Felix’s world will change forever. Once is the book, I would recommend to any level of reader.

Lachlan, Year 8


June 6

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

 No safe place    Imagine that you’re a 15-year-old boy who has just escaped his war torn country only to end up in a small migrant camp in Calais trying to get to England. But you’re not the only teenager there trying to escape. The only thing is, they don’t get on very well with the smugglers if you know what I mean.

If you like an action packed “jumpy” true story this is the book for you: “No Safe Place”.

     This book tells the story of six teenagers dumped in a small migrant camp in the jungle near Calais trying to cross the channel and get to England. Abdul is just one of the main characters. He’s a fifteen-year-old boy who has just escaped his war torn country of Iraq only to end up in the squalid jungle in Calais. All six of the teens must find a way to work together and get on if they’re going to make the journey to England.

     I liked this book because it was such an adventurous and jumpy storyline and because all of the characters had their own special story behind them and special abilities, like Cheslav who can play the trumpet. Okay?… I would recommend this book to a very mature reader and one who is  between the age of at least 17 to 40. Definitely a very good read I thought.

 Lachlan K., Year 8


 Abdul has a dream. His life is tough and his dream is almost impossible to achieve. While in Iraq, he knows the struggles and the dangers of the bombs and assassins and he also knows that change is needed in his life. There is only one way to achieve and live his dream and this is when his great adventure through rough seas and terrible weather begins. Abdul’s new life starts now.

Is this the type of book you would like to read? Then you must read “No Safe Place”.


In Iraq, life is tough. Challenges such as bombs and assassins are real life to Abdul. Abdul must escape in order to achieve his goal, but this is much easier said than done for him. He catches a boat across rough seas and on the way he makes enemies and friends. He has a long and hard journey to get through, in order to start his new life. The main characters are Abdul, Cheslav, Rosalia and Jonah. Cheslav loves music and he especially loves the trumpet and he becomes really good at it. He was sent to a musical school to play the trumpet when he was young. Rosalia came from a really tough background where she was abused, and this left her to live on the streets and Jonah is a young boy, ten years of age and he lived with his uncle. The main characters are also really well suited to the scenes that occur throughout the book.


I found this book really interesting and it also gets your attention really well. I would recommend this book for 12- 14 year- old people due to the book’s length and structure. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 due to how simple it is to read.


Daniel J, Year 8.


Meet Abdul, a 15 year old kid. Abdul is taking a long hard journey from his home in the streets of Baghdad to England. On the way, he ends up in the jungle. Will he make it out? Abdul trusts his life to a smuggler, but what other people are on the small boat? Can Abdul trust them? What risks will they have to make to get to their destination?

Does this thriller book keep you reading? If so, then ‘No Safe Place’, is the book for you.


This book is for teenagers of any gender who like action and a bit of sadness. It is based on a true story. It was surprising some of the things they did to stay alive. Some people would never do that stuff, so in this novel you can read what some people have to go through to survive. I would recommend this book if you have been reading, ‘Diego run’ or ‘In the sea there are crocodiles’. It shows how racist some people can be to other nationalities. There are some funny bits, like the first sentence to the book: ‘ The sound of pissing woke him up’.


Abdul and another five people need to trust each other and work together to cross the channel and get to England. I love how the story goes back and gives us a bit of back story to how they got there and their life in the past. I am not much of a reader but I didn’t mind this book. I would give it 3/5 stars. I liked the story because I wonder what it would be like to live through all the stuff they have to live through to get a better life. What will happen to the people on the boat? Will they end up dying, or getting lost at sea? read the book to find out.  Jayden. H, Year 8


Meet Abdul, the boy with a dream. One day he hopes to be a famous guitarist, playing and singing and making music for the whole world to hear. But for now, Abdul is just a fifteen-year-old boy who made a long and dangerous journey from his war-torn home in Baghdad. Now he wanders in the migrant community of Calais, but only to hand his life over to a people smuggler in the hope to find work in England.


Abdul later finds himself on a small, old, wood boat with five others: Rosalia, Cheslav, Uzbek, the smuggler and his nephew, Jonah. Not long after they take off from shore, the engine fails and they have no food or fresh water. How will they make it across the English Channel now? One man has already been killed, but who, how and why? Luckily they find a large boat, anchored in the middle of the channel. In their most desperate state, they decide to steal from the boat, although the plan takes a detour when the two men who own the boat are thrown overboard and are left with nothing but the small, old, wood, boat. How will they drive this? Will they make it across the English Channel? Even if they do make it, will they be let into the country? After all they did steal a boat.


‘No Safe Place’ was a thrilling adventure. There were twists and turns, deaths and stories. The book was extremely suspenseful and exciting. Once you start reading, I can assure you, you will not be able to stop. I recommend this book for young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 who enjoy thrilling adventure stories. This book is a work of art. I would rate ‘No Safe Place’ 4 out of 5 stars.


Liam, Year 8  

October 9

‘Never Fall Down’ by Patricia McCormick

What sort of book do you pick up at an airport bookshop?

Fortunately for me, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I chose ‘Never fall Down’ by Patricia McCormick, the story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who today is a peace activist and motivational speaker. McCormick narrates Arn’s story when, as a young Cambodian boy soldier, he is forced to leave his home, to witness horrifying events and make excruciatingly difficult decisions as he firstly flees from the Khmer Rouge, survives by learning to play a musical instrument, and later joins the Khmer as a soldier.

Although the text looks suitable for Upper Primary, the story contains graphic and unflinching details of wartime atrocities, however the violence portrayed is never gratuitous. The complexity of war and the personal choices facing everyday citizens are well portrayed in this unforgettable story – a tiny glimpse into the genocide of two million people in Cambodia’s ‘killing fields’ through the eyes of one boy.

Suitable for Secondary readers and adults.

August 21

‘On Two Feet and Wings’ by Abbas Kazerooni

Abbas leaves his family when he is 9 years old to escape being drafted into the army. He’s alone on the streets of Istanbul, trying to survive. His journey is aided by the kindness of strangers and his innate uncanny sense of who is trustworthy and who is not.

On Two Feet and Wings is the author’s autobiography. It’s highly accessible, harrowing enough but not too graphic, making it highly suitable for upper primary – lower secondary students. In the most graphic scenes, Abbas is beaten up, has a knife held to his throat and fears for his life. But what shines through is not the danger or the destitution, but Abbas’ strength of character and his will to survive. The author’s tone is never condescending, never preaching, but the story holds many lessons for today’s young readers.

This story forms a wonderful adjunct to recent titles dealing with displacement, such as “In the Sea There are Crocodiles” by Fabio Geda, “No Safe Place” by Deborah Ellis and “Mountain Wolf” by Rosanne Hawke (in my view, the latter two books are suitable only for teens and above).

Mrs Osborne

May 4

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

The book No Safe Place is a great book full of action, adventure and sadness. This is a good book for teenagers of both genders who prefer adventure, action or a sad book. It really made me realize how cruel and racist people can be as the nationalities of people in this book are widespread. It is a sad book but it is slightly funny at some parts in the book. The characters have great back stories and personalities because they are so different.

This book was really hard for me to put down once I started reading. It was really a shame once I reached the last page. This book is based on true stories and it makes me shocked as to how people actually did all the things the characters did. I was also amazed by how well thought out the characters are that I thought the author must have been thinking for years about their personalties. I enjoyed this book so much that once the book ended I wanted more.
Cory, Year 8


No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis

I am not really a person who would read a book if someone asked me to, but when I saw this book No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis what caught my eye was the first line and it read ‘He was woken by the sound of someone urinating.’

I would recommend this book to teenage boys and girls because it appeals to that age level. My friends and I all agree that this book is fantastic because now we know how lucky we are to live in this safe country and how grateful we should be for having a good life.

This book is set in a small town called Calais. The main characters in this book are teenage refugees named Abdul, Rosallia, Cheslav and Jonah.They can all relate to each other because of the abuse they cop. It is terrible that people live like this.They all want to get to England to live a good life and earn money. They end up getting there after all.

Some teenagers around the world can relate to this book because they are poor and abused like the poor 15 year old boy Abdul. This book is fantastic. I highly recommend that you read this book.

Bradley S.,  Year 8


The book No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis is quite a good book to read because it is an exhilarating story. It has lots of doubtful scenes that most of the time turn out to be accomplished by Abdul and his friends. I recommend this book to young teenagers and young adults. The book is based on the life of a young teenager who is alone in a country all by himself. He is trying to get to England to find work and get paid. He has tried lots of way to try and get to England including the Channel and the asylum seeker boat. Both haven’t worked but now he has found other people like him he is gradually making his way to England. I would definitely recommend this book as I was not a big reader before this book but now I’m hooked.

Declan, Year 8


‘No safe place’ by Deborah Ellis is an exiting realistic fiction book about a fifteen-year-old refugee, Abdul, who has made his way from his home in Bagdad to Calais and is willing to go to extreme measures to get to England.

Abdul gets on a people smuggler’s boat with Jonah, the English nephew of the smuggler, Rosalia, a gypsy Roma girl, and Cheslav, a Russian who doesn’t want to be controlled by the Russian government. They try and cross the English Channel and the smuggler falls off the boat. They steal a yacht from two Americans.

I recommend this book for teenage boys or girls that enjoy books about refugees and books such as ‘In the sea there are crocodiles’.

What will happen? Will the police catch them? Or will they be lost at sea? Will they be happy if they get to England? Find out in the fantastic book by Deborah Ellis, ‘No safe place’.

Anthony, Year 8


No Safe Place grabbed my attention in the first few pages. This book is full of thrills, drama and action; the first line “The sound of pissing woke him up” made me want to read more. The whole story is exciting. It’s one of those books where you just can’t put it down no matter how tired or stressed you are.

The main character Abdul is an orphan from a war torn home who needs to get to England to start a new life. With some trouble from a smuggler he meets two friends who help him on his journey. Their names are Rosalia and Cheslav.

This book is recommended to those who like trills and action. If you have read Three Wishes or Diego Run you will definitely love this book. This book is excellent for people between the ages of 12 – 15.  In conclusion, this is a great book for the people who love to read and I personally loved this book. It is maybe the best book I have ever read.

From Luca, Year 8.

May 1

‘Parvana’ by Deborah Ellis

What would you do if your dad were taken away? What if your country was under invasion? And what if you had to turn into a boy? In the novel Parvana, this is exactly what Parvana has to go through. The author, Deborah Ellis, has written several other stories, some of them are about the war.

If you like true and/or sensitive stories then this would be a good book for you. If you are not keen on reading than I do not recommended this book as it takes some time to become interesting.

Sarah Year 8


Sad …… ,but a page-turner, the book Parvana written by Deborah Ellis is about a family that sticks together through thick and thin.

The story is set in Afghanistan where the main character, Parvana, lives with her family. Her Dad gets taken away and to survive, Parvana has to dress up as a boy. She has no contact with her Dad and times are tough.

I did like this book but it started really slowly and I became bored, but overall it is a good book. Deborah Ellis has written several other books so if you like books about war and poverty then this is the book for you!

Pia Year 8


Imagine living in Afghanistan and not being able to go outside of your own house. Deborah Ellis portrays a young girl named Parvana living a tough life in Afghanistan and not being allowed to go outside without being caught.

Parvana is a young girl living in the rough times in Afghanistan. Everyday she goes to the market with her dad and tries to keep away from the soldiers that hang out around the markets. One day when her father is taken to jail, Parvana needed to do something to help out her family. She decided to dress up as a boy and help get the family money without being caught.

For people who like drama and suspense, this will be the book for you. Because of the interesting story line, even people that don’t read as much will be able to enjoy this type of book.

Bridget, Year 8


“Parvana” by Deborah Ellis

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I can definitely see why “Parvana” is known as the international bestseller or “The Breadwinner”. The writer, Deborah Ellis, has told the story of young Afghan girl, Parvana, with incredible enthusiasm. Deborah Ellis writes this novel so that you feel as if you are the character and are put in their shoes.

Almosta quarter of the way through the book Ellis strikes the reader with depression and emotion when Taliban soldiers take Parvana’s father. This happens repetitively through the book, which makes the storyline just ten times better than it already was.

Deborah Ellis has used quirky language and interesting situations to get her final point across to the reader. She pulls you right into the story right before the end of the chapter and you are forced to keep reading. I found this book totally addictive and could not put it down.

I would particularly recommend this novel to young girls aged 12 – 16, any younger and some readers may find events in the book disturbing or even frightening. I believe this novel isn’t suitable for boys as it discusses issues that girls go through and wouldn’t be relevant to boys. Deborah Ellis has written a clever and adventurous novel and I would highly recommend this novel to others.

The Final Rating


Anna, Year 8

August 12

‘The Happiest Refugee: A Memoir’ by Anh Do

I must be the only person in Australia who is not familiar with Anh Do, which a few visits to YouTube will no doubt fix…nevertheless his memoir was both tragic and funny, humble and most of all uplifting. For any reader who has encountered refugees before, many parts of his story will sound familiar: the harrowing sea voyage, his encounter with racist attitudes in Australia and the family credo to succeed. But pervading it all is Anh’s luminescent smile, his family’s ‘can do’ attitude, helped along by the kindness of strangers wherever they go. It’s a heart-warming story. Most impressive is the family’s attitude to life – to not just survive, but to achieve personal happiness by helping others and by doing whatever you can do best.
‘The Happiest Refugee’ will no doubt be seen as essential reading as part of the Asian literature of new National Curriculum; it has so much to offer. It’s highly readable for both teens and adults, filling in a gap of our migrant history about which teenagers may know little. Timely too, considering Australia’s present refugee debate. Mrs O.
Reserve ‘The Happiest Refugee’ here.

August 12

‘In the sea there are Crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah’s mother tells him three things: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons, don’t steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn’t there. They have fled their village in Afghanistan but his mother has decided to return home to her younger children, leaving ten-year-old Enaiatollah alone in Pakistan to fend for himself. In a book that takes a true story and shapes it into a beautiful piece of fiction, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah’s remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum aged fifteen.

It’s amazing to think that while I was working, socialising, carrying on with my everyday life, a teenager on the other side of the world was fighting desperately for survival, living through dislocation and fear. For teenagers, this is a life changing story which could shake any complacency or self-interest and change their views of refugees forever.Although translations can sound a bit ‘clunky’, the boy’s voice shines through. Highly recommended for middle teens. Mrs O.
Reserve “In the Sea there are Crocodiles’ here.

June 15

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

No safe placeAbdul is 15. He has no family left and he fled Iraq looking for a better life. Four months later he is homeless and hungry, living on the coast of France, and looking for a way to get to England. He makes it aboard the rickety boat of an unscrupulous smuggler along with a few other migrant teens. After a struggle with the smuggler the teens take over the boat and must work together to get themselves to England. Interspersed with the present-day action are flashbacks telling each story. Rosalia is a Roma girl, sold into the sex trade, with no safe place to go. Cheslav has fled a Russian military boarding school. Abdul has a horror story of his own from war-torn Iraq. The true dilemma of this book is that even if the young people get to England they are not safe there and not wanted there. There are no easy answers in this book but it sheds light on world issues that many teens probably know nothing about. Thomas, Year 8