From Far Away

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

A very sweet, well-written, wonderfully drawn, picture book about  Saoussan Askar. Sauoussan immigrants from Lebanon when she is seven years old to Canada. The story follows her fears and terrors as a young immigrant in a very different country. 

The story treats with such respect the complexity of being an immigrant. It is great to read books, especially for children, that portrayed so well immigration.
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This book does a semi-decent job of showing the plight of the refugees from war torn countries. however, where I felt the story lacked was in how fast the little girl acclimated to her life here. Most students realistically don't get to the point the girl did in the story in a year. But that being said maybe this author really did.

I liked the reminders for readers that even asking to go to the bathroom was impossible. I'm an ESL teacher and many descriptions in this book perfectly described my students.

I received an advanced copy from @netgalley. this is my honest review
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There is a large immigrant population in the school district where I work, so this would be an excellent read for younger elementary students in my schools. I will be recommending this to other teachers as well. It does a great job explaining culture shock and how different things can be for someone who moves from another country.
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I did not read this galley in it's entirety. Though I enjoyed what I did read.
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Saoussan writes a wonderful story about her own immigration experience. When her home country became unsafe, her family decided to take the risk and move to start a new life elsewhere. This is a sweet and relatable story to teach young children about what it would be like to be a refugee. This is a timely book, and I think it makes current events accessible to even young audiences. This book is extra special in that it was originally published when the author was still in school.
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Great illustrations! This will be a nice addition to our library.
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http://www.thepiratetree.com/2017/12/12/from-far-away-by-robert-munsch-illustrated-by-rebecca-green/
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Refugees. 

We don’t understand the plight of refugees. We don’t understand why they are leaving their countries. We don’t understand why they are coming to our shores. 

But we need to. We need to have empathy instead of politicizing their plight. Instead of having reasons for excluding people from our country, we need to understand. 

This book is a step in that direction. This was a great story - and parts of the book made me laugh out loud. 

I love how the book shows the introduction of someone to our culture - and how they don’t understand. 

And how emotions are international and transcend language barriers. 

What really struck me - was how this book was first written over 20 years ago, but is so relevant now. 

What made me really sad? (Well, besides the fact that we aren’t accepting of refugees…) Was that this little girl came from a place where a war started, and she was constantly afraid people would start shooting where she is now. And she gets reassured that’s not going to happen here. And maybe when it was written in 1995, that seemed unlikely. But now? I don’t know if we can say we don’t have to worry about shooting with the same confidence.
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This stunning picture book is the first-person account of a young immigrant girl adjusting to her life in Canada. This serious subject is well handled in both story and art, creating a stellar end product.

Saoussan has just immigrated to Canada from war-torn Lebanon. This books tells the story how she adjusted to a new language and a new culture. The story was originally written by author Saoussan Askar when she was in second grade, and this is one of the key features that make this book so perfectly realistic. Askar captures the fear and confusion of her initial experiences, as well as the hope and confidence she gains in a way that is hauntingly authentic. Robert Munch helps hone this into a stellar story. Rebecca Green’s illustration capture the emotion in soft, sensitive, and diverse images that draw the reader into the story. There are some moments where an older reader may find themselves wanting more detail, but From Far Away is perfect for younger readers.
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Global issues like the refugee crisis can be difficult to talk to children about, but even though it is based on events that took place twenty years ago, From Far Away expertly communicates the universal need to belong somewhere, from the perspective of a child. 

Written in the first-person voice of young Saoussan Askar, this story briefly describes the danger of war in her native country (Lebanon, though I don't see this actually stated in the book), and Saoussan's struggles with integrating into the school in Canada, her new home.

She is scared by a skeleton decoration for a school play, and experiences other practical difficulties due to the language barrier. But as she learns English, Saoussan blossoms and begins to make friends and enjoy the activities in school. 

The illustrations in this book are very expressive and do a great job of communicating Saoussan's various emotions as she makes the transition from one country to another. This book is a wonderful way to help children hear about some of the many obstacles faced by those who make the brave decision to flee violence, even after the violence is behind them.
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Beautiful and simply told tale of a young girl refugee in language that is understandable and relatable for young students. Lovely new updated art-work. Nice afterword by Saoussan.
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Saoussan is a second grader, she is seven years old, she came from far away, and she frames her story as if she is talking directly to the reader, her reading buddy. Saoussan tells her story of coming to Canada from her home country where a war started. With the war came bombings, a lack of food, and people being shot at. When she gets to Canada her father tells her to be good and listen in school, but Saoussan doesn't speak English, so she can't understand the teacher or the other students. School it difficult at first and she doesn't want to go back, but over time, Saoussan begins to learn English and becomes the best reader and speller in her class. She's so good at speaking English that her teacher complains that she never stops talking to her friends! Saoussan shares bits and pieces of her new life, giving a glimpse of what it is like to immigrate to a new country.

From Far Away gives a personal look at immigration and humanizes a sometimes abstract concept. The book addresses issues like violence head on by stating more than once that people were shot at in Saoussan's unnamed home country, but it is not graphic, just realistic. From Far Away is a good book for introducing or reinforcing the concept of immigration for elementary-aged children.
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I first read this book in 1995 and I absolutely love the new update. The illustration and editing make this story a wonderful addition to any library or classroom. It gives children the ability to see through another’s eyes and maybe see the world a little differently and with empathy. I also loved that Saoussan provides an update on her life! I’ve often wondered what she did when she got older. Fantastic book!
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A warm and sweetly illustrated picture book documenting Saoussan's experience as a young Lebanese refugee adjusting to her new life in Canada.
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*thank you to Annick Press Ltd and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

4.5 stars
Ohh I just want to hug Saoussan!! She is a beautiful girl who came from Lebanon to Canada when she was only 7 years old. This is a huge change for such a little girl and showing readers what its like when you go from one country to another really makes this an eye opener. Saoussan tries to fit in at school and at first she is very scared as she does not understand everything around her. She does not speak english and does not understand the difference in the cultures. She soon, little by little, adjusts with the help of a loving, caring and supportive teacher and parents. This story tells readers to be patient with some people who are new, and trying to work things out. Its an adorable book and a really positive, heart felt one at that. Would definitely recommend.
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I liked the message in this book. When my family first came from Europe, the youngest child, my aunt spoke no English. I like to think that maybe she had an easier time adapting to school and making friends here.  This would make a nice addition to libraries in schools with lots of new immigrants. Illustrations were lovely.
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An older version of this title was first published in 1995.  This version acknowledges Saoussan Askar's contributions to the story and is presented with a different illustrator. The book is as profound now as it was then. Given the political climate, it might be even more important. 

Immigration is part of our story here in North America. Green's illustrations show us a Muslim family who were forced to leave their country because of war. Readers will empathise with Saoussan, as she struggles to make her way in this new land. Her world is fraught with difficulty as she learns a new language and navigates her way through new cultural traditions. Just needing to use the toilet can be a nearly overwhelming obstacle. The Halloween episode is especially poignant. From my teaching experience, it is one of the strangest for children to get used to, and eventually the one that students 'from far away' embrace readily. It also reminds us that many of the children who come from war torn areas have memories of horrific realities that can be triggered by what we consider to be ordinary things. 

I especially appreciate how Rebecca Green's illustrations portray the multicultural classrooms I taught in across my teaching career. It both represents the reality and shows us how we can all come together in love and hope for the future. 

What I didn't know until I read the note from Saoussan at the end, is that this story is based on her experiences. When she was in second grade she wrote a letter to Robert Munsch telling him of her challenges here in Canada. The two of them exchanged letters and this book was the result. The royalties are split between the two authors. 

While learning more about this book I discovered this little film created by the National Film Board of Canada that is based on Saoussan's experiences. 

From Far Away, Shira Avni & Serene El-haj Daoud, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

From Far Away, Shira Avni & Serene El-haj Daoud, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

While this story takes place here in Canada, it is an important message for readers everywhere to help us understand and find compassion for others. I highly recommend this book for school and classroom libraries.
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Beautiful new illustrations are the highlight of this timely story of a young refugee finding her way into her new life.  This would be a great addition to any library collection.
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This real-life story was first published in 1995.  With all the turmoil and immigration movement in our world at the present time the story seems even more relevant today.  

Seven-year old Saoussan and her family immigrate to Canada from Lebanon because of the war and danger they are experiencing in their native land.  She attends a school in Toronto and has a very difficult time adjusting because of her language barrier and her unfamiliarity with Canadian customs and people.  Frightened and feeling misplaced she takes it upon herself to fit in (and she does) by learning the language and becoming quite proficient in reading and writing.  I love the diversity of the students in her class with one little one in a wheelchair. The kids all work hard to accept her and make her feel safe and part of their class.  Her sensitive, caring teacher carefully takes her new student under her wing and helps ease her into her new lifestyle and new Canadian homeland.  

This heartfelt story is illustrated beautifully depicting emotions and feelings of Saoussan, her family and those around her at her school.  The authors include a message from the real Saoussan, now all grown up, to conclude and give closure to her story.  I highly recommend this book and suggest that every classroom and school library have a copy to share and discuss.
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This is a wonderful and simple story of a young girls immigration. It's not a new story but it is as timely and relevant now as when it was originally written.
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