Author: Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano
Format: E ARC
Number of Pages: 144
Publishing: August 7th, 2018
Source: Edelweiss Above the TreeLine
Synopsis from Goodreads:
This is a powerful and timely story about one boy's epic journey across Africa to Europe, a graphic novel for all children with glorious colour artwork throughout. From Eoin Colfer, previously Irish Children's Laureate, and the team behind his bestselling Artemis Fowl graphic novels.
His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe.
Ebo's epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister.
I haven't read a graphic novel in quite some time, but when I heard about Illegal, I knew that it would be the kind of book that I wanted to read. The first thing that hits you is the illustrations by Giovanni Rigano, the deep blue of the ocean at the very beginning really grips you and places you in the reality of that moment, the feeling of being alone in the deep ocean on nothing but a small raft. Then contrast that with the colors of the desert in Africa as Ebo tries to find his brother Kwame in the city, giving you the expansive feel of the task he's set for himself. Illegal alternates between Ebo's current situation and his past, explaining why first his sister and now his brother left Africa to immigrate to Europe. It's a touching story that not only highlights the dangers that refugee's faced, but what their hopes and dreams were for the future if they could survive the journey. Ebo is intelligent, and resourceful, and determined to find his brother, which isn't a small task when he makes it to the larger city. While there isn't a lot of dialogue, the story will hold a lasting impression. The full-page illustration alone with a boat filled to the brim with people and Ebo in this small raft that's falling apart at the seams kept me riveted flipping pages to see how it ends. Illegal is a realistic story, full of all the potential hazards and risks you might expect, there was a particularly heartbreaking moment that had me shedding a few tears. Not a story I will soon forget, and I really hope there will be a discussion guide to accompany this so that it can be adapted for an educational setting. I found this video on Youtube and it will give you an idea of the illustrations. Illegal is a story that you won't want to miss.