Refugee boy Benjamin Zephaniah - Referat
Reading Log Young Adult Readers
Title Refugee boy
Author: Benjamin Zephaniah
Page prepared to read out: 128
The setting of the book: What type of story is it? Where/When does it take place?
It is a story about a refugee-boy and his stay in London in the year 2000.
Describe the main characters.
Alem KELO: a fourteen year old boy from Africa, well-mannered, quiet.
Mr. KELO: his father, he speaks 6 languages, he was born in Ethiopia
Mrs. KELO: his mother, she also speaks 6 languages, she was born in Eritrea
Pamela, Mariam and Sheila: take care of him and are staff from the Refugee Council
Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald: his foster parents, wise and nice people
Ruth Fitzgerald: their daughter and at the end of the story Alemīs friend
Robert: his friend from school, who organises the campaign for him
Ray Buckley called Buck: his friend from school, he is a musician plays guitar and has his own band called Pithead
Give a brief story summary. The story starts in Ethiopia, when Alem finds his parents being forced by a soldier to leave their country immediately. Then the story jumps directly to Heathrow to the passport control, where Alemīs father explains to the officer that they would only stay on holidays. Alem stayed one day and two nights with his father in a hotel, when he suddenly disappeared. He left him a letter which explained the situation and a picture of Alem and his parents. Alem is a child of an Ethiopian father and an Eritrean mother. These two states are now in war. They are not welcome in neither place. The parents hope for peace and they had founded an organisation to bring peace to Africa. Until that happens they want his son to be safe. Later on two ladies, Pamela and Mariam, from the Refugee Council came, he told them his story and they took him with them. They organized a place to stay for him to stay and they took care of his papers. Alem came to a childrenīs home. He did not like it at all, some boys were bullying him and children were crying so hard in the night, because of their nightmares, that he could not sleep. Alem escaped, but came back the next morning. Sheila, his social worker found a nice foster family for him. The Fitzgeralds were a nice and well educated family and Alem felt very comfortable. He soon went to school where he made some friend ships with Robert and Buck. He was a quiet boy, very self-controlled, he loved reading, education and did not want any fuss. Through the refugee council he gets a letter from his father, saying that he cannot find his mother anymore. The story tells all the process of seeking refugee status and his application for political asylum. A few weeks later, he receives another letter from his father and he tells him the very sad news, that his mother had been killed in a very violent way. His friend Robert comes to visit him, Robert tells him, that his parents escaped also from Chile to the U.K. and they have a nice time together. One day he got kicked off from two boys who took his new bike but Alem refused to contact the police. By surprise his father came and it was an emotional reunion. His father lived in a hotel, which was not really a hotel, it was more a shabby refugee stay with no reception. Alem and his father had to go to court. The adjudicator decided that they should go back to Africa because he considered that they did not have a full-out-war. Alem collapsed during this hearing when he heard that his mother was hacked to death. Then his friends from school started a campaign for Alem and his father. Ruth organised the P.R.-part of the campaign. They got 6000 signatures, the story was brought up by the local T.V., radio and newspapers. The Kelos had to talk to a hundreds of people and so did Robert and Mariam. The headmaster of the school gave a Positive School Certificate to Alem, which was really something very special, he wanted to show it to his father and waited for him in their room. Instead of his father Sheila and Mariam came and told him again very bad news. His father was killed. The killer got away. Alem cried so hard, it was terrible. He went back to the Fitzgeralds and at the end of the story he got the right to stay in the U.K.
Describe your favourite part and discuss why you would/would not use this particular book in class. My favourite part is when Mr. Fitzgerald explains his sight of the politics in the UK and says that not even the queenīs family has its origin in the UK. I would not really use this book in class. It is too sad to use it in an 8th class but maybe I would discuss some parts of it. It would be interesting to sensitize young people with the topic especially in nowadays.
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