"Groundbreaking and unforgettable." - Kirkus (starred review)
"Kullab's story focuses less on emigration and more on the process by which ordinary families become the faceless refugees of
news reports. When readers next hear news about Syria, they will likely remember Amina." - Publishers Weekly
"This is a powerful, eye-opening graphic novel that will foster empathy and understanding in readers of all ages." - The Globe and Mail
"This is a collaborative masterpiece...In league with Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, this is a must-purchase for any teen or adult graphic novel collection" - School Library Journal
"Those Canadians who object to the support and sponsorship offered by the government and various private groups might have their hearts softened and, perhaps, their minds opened after reading Escape from Syria." - CM Magazine
Escape from Syria is a fictionalized account that calls on real-life circumstances and true tales of refugee families to serve as a microcosm of the Syrian uprising and the war and refugee crisis that followed. It was included in the United States Board on Books for Youth (USBBY) 2018 Outstanding International Book list and shortlisted for the School Library Association's Information Book Award. It was translated to simplified Chinese in 2018.
The story spans six years in the lives of Walid, his wife Dalia, and their two children, Amina and Youssef. Forced to flee from Syria, they become asylum-seekers in Lebanon, and finally resettled refugees in the West. It is a story that has been replayed thousands of times by other families.
When the family home in Aleppo is destroyed by a bomb strike, Walid has no choice but to take his wife and children and flee their war-torn and much loved homeland. They struggle to survive in the wretched refugee camps of Lebanon, and when Youssef becomes fatally ill as a result of the poor hygienic conditions, his father is forced to take great personal risk to save his family.
Walid's daughter, the young Amina, a whip-smart grade-A student, tells the story. As she witnesses firsthand the harsh realities that her family must endure if they are to survive -- swindling smugglers, treacherous ocean crossings, and jihadist militias -- she is forced to grow up very quickly in order to help her parents and brother.