Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Illegal tells the story of Ebo, a 12-year-old boy who flees grinding poverty, zero opportunities and a drunken uncle in his small village in Africa. His brother Kwame and sister Sisi have already left in the hope of a better life in Europe and he’s determined to find them en route.

Before he even can hope to find a boat to get him to Europe, Ebo has to make the perilous journey across Sahara desert. And then the boat he manages to find passage on (for a small fortune) is a small six-person rubber dinghy, now carrying 14 passengers…

The story is heart-stoppingly powerful and many readers will devour it one sitting. The images are of course absolutely integral and beautifully drawn by Giovanni Rigano. Ebo is a wonderful hero: so resourceful, hard working, clever, brave and funny.

Although Ebo’s story is fictional, every element of it has been inspired by facts, based on extensive interviews and research. At the back of the book, these stories are acknowledged, including the moving story of “Helen”, adapted in comic form.

An absolute must-read, this graphic novel is thought-provoking, profound, sensitive and totally gripping. 

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