ILLEGAL by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin and illustrated by Giovanni Rigano. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc. 2018. 122p. ISBN 978-149266214-3 hb. $19.99 Gr. 7-12 YA Graphic
Step into this harrowing tale of twelve-year-old Ebo’s journey from his poverty stricken village in Ghana to find his family. The story flips back and forth between present day and two years ago when Ebo left his village to catch up to his brother, who was looking for their sister, who was on her way to Europe. The flashbacks track the brothers north across the arid terrain of the Sahara Desert in Africa amid dangerous confrontations with police, soldiers, and dishonest guides. The journey taking place in present day is the last leg of the journey across the water, presumably the Mediterranean Sea. Ebo and his brother, Kwame, start out on a raft, get picked up by a freighter, and use their problem solving skills to stay out of harm’s way. Ebo is full of optimism and readily shares his gift of song, despite the hardships he’s faced on this arduous trek. As readers share the injustice, heartbreak, and physical challenges faced by Ebo and Kwame, they cannot help but feel empathy for all who are forced from their homes into unfamiliar surroundings and dangerous situations. The graphic novel style of storytelling highlights the plight of immigrants with its unforgettable images.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI