From Goodreads: “Aya is eleven years old and has just arrived in Britain with her mum and baby brother, seeking asylum from war in Syria.
When Aya stumbles across a local ballet class, the formidable dance teacher spots her exceptional talent and believes that Aya has the potential to earn a prestigious ballet scholarship.
But at the same time, Aya and her family must fight to be allowed to remain in the country, to make a home for themselves, and to find Aya’s father – separated from the rest of the family during the journey from Syria.
With beautiful, captivating writing, wonderfully authentic ballet detail, and an important message championing the rights of refugees, this is classic storytelling – filled with warmth, hope and humanity.“
I borrowed this from the library via the Libby app, and I’m so glad I took a chance on it as I don’t read many children’s books.
It’s a lovely book about eleven year old Aya, a young Muslim ballet dancer, fleeing the civil war in Syria with her parents and baby brother. The book starts in Manchester at a refugee centre where she spends her days helping her mother find out if they can stay in England. One day she hears piano music in another part of the centre, and slips away to investigate, as it reminds her of her ballet classes back in Syria. Whilst listening at the door she is spotted by Dotty, a black ballet dancer of a similar age and they gradually become friends.
Dotty is lovely, so full of life, the perfect opposite to Aya’s anxious character. I loved the way their friendship developed, it felt very natural.
I thought the way the plight of refugees is told in this story, through Aya’s flashbacks, through dance and by getting to know other characters, was very clever and engaging
This book reminded me a lot of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr, one my favourite books, which the author mentions as inspiration in the notes at the back of the book.
This is a new favourite which I highly recommend.