Samira Surfs by Rukhsanna Guidroz
Published on December 23, 2021
Reviewed by Nicole Zimmerman
Viewing the Rohingya conflict through 11-year-old Samira’s eyes, the reader is thrust into the life of a refugee struggling to survive in an unfamiliar country. Samira and her family have arrived in Bangladesh after Rohingyas have been forced out of their homes in Burma. Samira wants to help her family, but she yearns for more than what is expected of her as a Muslim girl. Through learning English from her brother to discovering surfing and making new friends, Samira is thrust into an exciting new world although she still experiences the hardships of refugee life. Written in vignettes with illustrations throughout, Samira Surfs is a great way to introduce the refugee crisis to a middle grade child to start a dialogue in the classroom or home. This book is evocative without being graphic, although the subject content is serious, and uplifting as the reader feels that Samira will rise despite her circumstances. The love between characters feels real as does their anxiety about their uncertain futures.
The author includes an explanation of Myanmar’s politics at the end of the book and a few resources for readers to do further research.
I thought this book was an engaging, fast read, great for kids aged 11-14. Although this book is written for kids, I found it to be incredibly poignant. I would recommend this to any parent or teacher who is trying to expose kids to current events in an age-appropriate fashion.
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“We didn’t know what lay ahead, we only knew what lay behind was no longer bearable.”
“Water moves to its own rhythm and beat, but if I listen, pay close attention, I, too, can learn its music.”