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The Unexpected Friend: A Rohingya Children's Story

What an unexpected surprise to find an ARC on @netgalley of this book, and I was so touched I had to share!⁠

Genre: Advanced Picture Book⁠

Ages: 6-9⁠

Available: my Amazon page, link in bio (profits of this book go to Rohingya Refugees)⁠

This book powerfully displays the innocent voice of a young Rohingya refugee and his struggles in the refugee camp.⁠

The book does not explore any politics of Myanmar, or Rohingya refugees…rather, it just delves straight into the humanity of these innocent children in the camps and their experiences within.⁠

Faisal is finished praying at the Mosque when he finds an injured bird. He takes the bird and runs through the camp to find someone to help, but the medical station and food supply station are full of lines of people. He takes him to his sisters and mom, who wrap the bird. He is so kind in the way he cares for the bird and after an accident collecting firewood in the forest, his own hand is injured and he spends time healing side by side with the bird. When the bird heals, Faisal feels sad to let him go. But he knows that the bird deserves to be with his family. Watching him fly away fills him with peace and hope.⁠

I liked the contrast of the bird and Faisal, and showing symbolically how Faisal identified with the bird and his need to heal and be with his family. I feel like if it was written that Faisal had an injured hand before he found the bird though, it would have made the book more powerful.⁠

I liked the happy glimpses of shadow puppets and playing and showing how kids are kids, no matter where they are.

Faisal cares for the animals and he recognizes that the refugee camp is using the resources of the forest. The small glimpses of refugee life show the reader the need for the world to be more aware of this humanitarian crisis.

The extra note at the back also raises awareness on the Rohingya situation, and an extra link for donation is provided.⁠

This beautifully illustrated book mentions athan, the mosque, prayers, and includes many hijabis and kufis in the Muslims in the illustrations.⁠

May Allah bring them peace and relief🤲🤲

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