Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale

Stormy Seas tells the harrowing stories of five young refugees. Their experiences span over half a century, and all involve crossing a large water mass in terrifying and life-threatening conditions.

Ruth left Germany on the S.S. St. Louis in 1939 with the assurance of freedom in Cuba, only to be turned away in Havana and later in Florida and Nova Scotia.

Phu was only 14 in 1979 when his mother sent him away on his own from communist Vietnam on a boat across the South China Sea.

Jose left Cuba with his family at age 9; Najeeba was 11 when she fled; and 13-year-old Mohammed made his way alone across the Mediterranean from his home in the Ivory Coast in 2006. 

The author, Leatherdale, and illustrator Eleanor Shakespeare used firsthand accounts and photos to tell these timely stories of courage and resilience for young readers. In each situation, the young refugee’s freedom was dependent on whoever would receive them. “I am not particularly interested in going to America,” said Ruth, “I am interested in staying alive.” Ages 10 and up. (Annick Press)

About the Author

Jenny de Groot is a teacher/librarian in Langley, British Columbia.