Friday, February 4, 2011

No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis

Highly Recommended 
* Canadian Author

Deborah Ellis tackles the gritty and extremely relevant topic of child migrants in her newest novel No Safe Place. Fifteen year old Abdul is from Baghdad and his family was killed by an American bomb during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and his mother was murdered by a religious militia. Before losing his own life, Abdul flees his country in search of a safe place.

No Safe PlaceAfter months of travelling Abdul finds himself on a devious smugglers boat bound for England. Abdul is not the only passenger on the boat, nor is he the only one seeking a safe place. Rosalia,  is a Romani girl fleeing from a life of forced prostitution, and Cheslav has escaped from the army. Trusting no one but themselves, they embark on an unforgettable and adventurous journey across the English Channel in hope of escaping their miserable lives.

Through the use of flashbacks Deborah Ellis masterfully tells the story of how each child came to be on the smuggler's boat.  As the story unravels, the reader discovers that despite each character's unique life experiences and personalities they all yearn to be free and safe.

Ellis creates an accurate portrayal of migrant children's lives around the world in such a way that our students will be able to identify, connect, and empathize with the characters on many levels. An accessible read for our reluctant readers, yet captivating enough to catch the attention of our more avid readers.

Reviews and Awards
Saskatchewan Curriculum Connections
  • Social Studies: Power and Authority
  • English Language Arts: Personal and Philosophical Context, Social, Cultural, and Historical Context


  1. As the account unravels, the reader discovers that in spite of every character's exceptional existence experiences
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  2. Hi Tamzen,

    No Safe Place was one of the 2011 nominees for the Snow Willow Award. We felt it was one of the top 10 Canadian titles of the year.

    Ruth Garnett
    President, SYRCA The Willow Awards