Outside in World | Browse Books
Use our Book Finder to search for books by Title (or part of the title), Author, ISBN, Age Range, Keyword, or Continent/Country. Then simply click the magnifying glass to start your search.
‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
In the Sea there are Crocodiles
by Fabio Geda
Age Range: 12+
Winner of the 2013 Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, this novel is based on the remarkable story of Enaiatollah Akbariís five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy. Abandoned in Quetta, Pakistan by his mother, ten-year-old Enaiat is left to fend for himself. His mother believes that he will be safer there than in his native Afghanistan as his family are Hazaras from the Ghazni province and they are disliked by both the Taliban and the Pashtun.
Enaiatís mother tells him three things before she leaves him: donít use drugs, donít use weapons, and donít steal. Despite having no money, nowhere to live and being unable to speak the local language, Enaiat discovers that his ability to work allows him to survive. He lives wherever he can find work saving up the money he earns to pay for his journey.
Enaiat endures unimaginable hardships and hazardous challenges along the way. From Quetta he travels across into Iran. He then pays people-traffickers to take him (and 77 others) across the mountain range between Iran and Turkey. They promise it will be a three-day trek but instead it turns out to be a month of treacherous walking in the freezing mountains, where 12 of the group perish, and then being squeezed with the remaining 65 others into the false bottoms of trucks for the final leg of the journey into Turkey.
After spending some time in Istanbul, before travelling to Ayvalik on the coast of Turkey, Enaiat faces another equally perilous passage when he crosses to the island of Lesbos (Greece) in a dinghy with a group of friends, one of whom drowns. Finally he arrives on mainland Greece staying a few days in Athens before heading off to the coastal port of Corinth where he hides in a trailer that is loaded onto a lorry heading for his final destination, Italy.
Told in the first person narrative, this is a revealing testament of the experiences faced by a young asylum-seeker. Italian author, Fabio Geda captures Enaiatís voice brilliantly as he puts some of their conversations into the narrative. As well as the hardships, setbacks and sadness of this story Enaiatís sense of humour shines through, such as when he describes the box containing the dinghy and life-jackets purchased from a trafficker as "an Ikea flatpack for illegals".
It is Enaiatís resourcefulness, self-belief and sheer determination that enable him to survive which makes this a truly stunningly and moving book about one boyís remarkable journey. This international bestseller deserves to be read widely by young and older readers alike.