Benjamin Zephaniah is about as cool as literature gets these days, so it’s great that he chose to reference Eritrea in his book ‘Refugee Boy’.
It follows the hero, Alem Kelo and his parents, who are not welcome in either Ethiopia, his father’s country, or Eritrea, his mother’s country. His parents decide to bring Alem to London. After one night in the city, his father returns to Africa - leaving Alem alone. The book then traces Alem’s story as he is taken to live with foster parents, settles in a new school and begins the long process of applying for asylum. The difficulties Alem faces in trying to adapt to a new language and culture are highlighted together with the many traumas he suffers, including the death of both parents in violent circumstances. However, he makes many good friends including his Irish foster family.
Looking through the – very positive – customer reviews on Amazon, the book appears to be very popular with teachers, possibly because it deals with issues relevant to urban youth.
You can here Mr Zephaniah discussing the book on R4 with Jim Naughtie on Bookclub here.
(Thanks to my missus for pointing me in the direction of this.)