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)
Alpha: Abidjan to Gare du Nord
Age Range: 9-11
Alpha Coulibaly, a cabinet maker from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, dreams of settling in Europe. His sister-in-law has a hair salon in Paris near the Gard du Nord. After trying unsuccessfully for a visa, Alpha and his family decided to try the long and perilous journey without one. His wife Patience and son Badian have already set off for Paris.
The odds are stacked against him: a lack of money, people traffickers in the desert, the refugee camps and the over-crowded boats. The journey will be long and hazardous, coupled with this Alpha has heard nothing from his wife. He carries their photo just in case someone may have seen them. It’s a journey that will take Alpha from Abidjan, through Mali, Algeria, Morocco and finally by boat to Spain and then to Paris, France his final destination.
Throughout his journey Alpha meets a cast of equally desperate characters, from football-mad Antoine from Cameroon who dreams of getting to Spain to play football for F.C. Barcelona; Abebi from Lagos whose own sad story also unfolds and a young child Augustin, who is travelling alone.
Alpha is a highly emotive graphic novel based on an idea by French graphic artist Barroux after meeting an African refugee in Paris. Written by award-winning French author Bessora and translated by Sarah Ardizzone, it demonstrates the desperation and danger to which many migrants are willing to subject themselves in order to seek a better life; a situation so much of our time with the daily arrivals of migrants in Italy and Greece. The grim bleakness is brilliantly evoked as it is not afraid to show the inevitable consequences for many who attempt to leave their own country and seek refuge in another. It also shows Alpha as an ordinary, respectable hardworking craftsman who simply dreams of a better life.
Barroux’s artwork is stark; with rough outlines of black and white felt-tip pen and occasional dashes of red, which captures the danger, desperation, and fear as well as the hope that carries the migrants on their journey. Alpha is a book that should be read by everyone.