The definition of the word ‘Escape’ in the Oxford dictionary is “to get away from a place where you have been kept as a prisoner or not allowed to leave”. This book has given me multiple definitions of the word Escape. I was totally inspired by these remarkable people who overcome war, famine, intolerance, even climate change – so that they could have a better life. As I read through all the 12 stories, the people mentioned in these stories have taught me a deeper meaning of the word escape – it is courage, resilience, wit, humanity, compassion and understanding. My students can certainly learn so much from these people – they have made a huge difference in one’s life. It will also remind them of just how much of a difference one person can make in the world around him/her/them. The character that struck me most was Dr. Feng Shan Ho, a Chinese diplomat in Austria during WWII who issued 4,000 visas to Jews, giving them a chance to liberate themselves from the Nazi reign of terror.
I would use this book as a springboard for further discussion and research especially in geography – the authors have cleverly included a map that shows the escapes occurred, making it clear how the individuals have moved from all over the world.
The true and emphatic illustrations will make any reader feel the need for the character’s reason to flee devastation. The big take away for me from this book is how the author zoomed in on the positives without sugar coating the tough realities of each situation.
Every school library and classroom should have this book on their shelves. We need our children to grow their empathetic muscles, to understand and celebrate our diversity and to honour the values of the human spirit. This book can be a good reminder of how interconnected we are in this world. What an informative, interesting, and intriguing book to explore the issues of immigration and refugees!