Benjamin Zephaniah

Refugee Boy

Alem is on holiday with his father for a few days in London. He has never been out of Ethiopia before and is very excited. They have a great few days togther until one morning when Alem wakes up in the bed and breakfast they are staying at to find the unthinkable. His father has left him. It is only when the owner of the bed and breakfast hands him a letter that Alem is given an explanation. Alem's father admits that because of the political problems in Ethiopia both he and Alem's mother felt Alem would be safer in London — even though it is breaking their hearts to do this. Alem is now on his own, in the hands of the social services and the Refugee Council. He lives from letter to letter, waiting to hear from his father, and in particular about his mother, who has now gone missing… A powerful, gripping new novel from the popular Benjamin Zephaniah
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    Lucía Perea Hernáncompartió una citahace 5 meses
    in the cab, whispering the words as he read them: ‘No smok-ing. Li-censed Hack-ney Car-riage. Red light in-di-cates doors are locked. This seat-belt is for your per-son-al safe-ty.’

    After a while his attention turned to the road outside, the M4. It was so straight and wide; the ride was so smooth, no potholes, no wild bends, just the sound of the engine and the tyres on the road.

    They had travelled for only about seven miles when they turned off the motorway and headed towards the village down Majors Farm Road. It suddenly went quiet; there were very few cars on the road and no farms to be seen, just a few empty fields. As they neared the village, Alem looked towards all the semi-detached houses for any sign of life. He could see the houses but where were the people? All the houses had cars in their driveways, usually two, and many had cats in the windows, but no people. He looked up at the chimneys and wondered what they were there for.

    When they entered the village, things became a little busier but still remained very orderly. And now Alem began to see animals; they were only dogs that people had on leads but he was sure that he would soon see the local goats and chickens.

    The taxi pulled up outside the hotel. It was an old-fashioned building that looked to Alem more like a big house than a hotel, after all, he had seen the Holiday Inn in Addis Ababa and he thought that was a big skyscraper, so he expected English hotels to be even bigger.

    ‘Here you are, guvs,’ said the driver, ‘the Palace Hotel, wot a lave
    Auksė Tomenkaitėcompartió una citahace 6 meses
    do for you, sir?’ he said, towering above both of them.

    ‘We have a twin room reserved for us. My name is Mr Kelo, I spoke to you on the phone last week.’

    The big man flicked through the p
    Layla Park-Sahacompartió una citahace 7 meses
    As the family lay sleeping, soldiers kicked down the door of the house and entered, waving their rifles around erratically and shouting at the top of their voices. Alem ran into the room where his parents were, to find that they had been dragged out of bed dressed only in their nightclothes, and forced to stand facing the wall.

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