Thursday 29 March 2018

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon March Book of the Month

My choice for book of the month for March is Zana Fraillon's novel, The Bone Sparrow. This isn't a book I sought out for myself and I'll admit I probably wouldn't of even looked at it judging from the front cover alone. No this was actually a gift for my birthday from my eldest daughter and after finishing it I am really glad that she did.


Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he's at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie.

Carrying a notebook that she's unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck - both talismans of her family's past and the mother she's lost - Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence. 

As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie's family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

On the back of the book it says: "This is one story. The story of millions."

Sadly this really is the case. This is a story that was necessary, one that really needed to be told, one that should be read and heard by the masses.

We follow Subhi as he goes about his day to day life within a detention centre, we get an insight on how things may well be. It makes me think of how privileged my children are, how lucky we all are for what we consider basics. Food, clean water, clothing. These are the things that I'll be honest, I know I take for granted. 

This isn't some fast paced novel that grips you from the get go. No, The Bone Sparrow has something quite poetic about it. It is slow building but as the layers of the story build, so does the feeling of hope.

What Zana highlights are real issues for many refugees and asylum seekers but how the way she shows this is with compassion and with cleverly placed humour.

Although this book covers quite a worrying and emotional subject, with ten year old Subhi as the protagonist, there is a real innocence to it especially when he forms an unexpected friendship with outsider Jimmie. This is coming of age tale but under different circumstances.

I think this would make for a great book to use in secondary schools, a great tool to show the younger generation how things are for others who aren't as fortunate as them because although heartbreaking at times, this really is a wonderful book which we can all learn something from. 

There aren't enough words to describe The Bone Sparrow, it is both devastating and enlightening all at once, I would urge everyone to read it!


  1. Wow, what an impacting book. I imagine I'd feel a similar way to when I read A Thousand Splendid Suns

  2. I'm torn between wanting to read it because it's an important subject and feeling guilty about not wanting to read it so I can avoid the heartbreak, if that makes sense?

  3. This sounds amazing! Well done to your daughter for her excellent taste in choosing books!
    I hadn't heard of it before, so I will look out for it. It sounds a bit like The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. I'm also reading a YA book about a refugee for work at the moment, which is very good - The Lines We Cross.

  4. This sounds like a fantastic book - again, not one I've heard of or would have picked up in a book shop, but I'd really like to read it now! #ReadWithMe

  5. Sounds an interesting read, although I probably wouldn't have glanced at it either

  6. I definitely going to read this now! Thanks #readwithme


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