Desperate to find his brother and sister, who have both left their home to find a better life, Ebo sets off on his own treacherous journey to leave his homeland. His hope is to make it to Europe, where he knows there will be more opportunities for him. In order to make it, he must rely on the help of scoundrels and thieves, who take his money in exchange for the most basic provisions. He must cross the Sahara Desert in an overcrowded truck and hope he doesn't fall off. He must scrabble and scrape in towns along his way, like Tripoli, to make enough money to fund the next stretch of his trip, hiding all along from authorities who will send him home if he is found there without proper documentation. He must survive an endless trip across the sea in a too-small inflatable raft. He must hold on to his hope at every moment - hope that he will not be caught, hope that he will survive his journey, hope that he will see his brother or sister again.
Why This Book Is Worth Reading:
I read this book in one sitting on one of our many snow days. My kids were napping. I had a brief window of time and a million things to do around my house. But I sat down to read this book for just a few minutes and I couldn't stop. Ebo's story is gripping. It is intense and dramatic, and the graphic novel format of the book enhances both of those qualities. You can see the emotion on the characters faces. You can feel their discomfort at being confined to cramped quarters without food or water. As Americans, our national news often contains stories or footage of people in circumstances like Ebo, but those people are often trying to enter the United States. It lends tremendous perspective to think about this journey happening halfway around the world, so different and yet so much the same. Illegal allowed me to connect to this plight in an entirely new way. I will continue to think about this book for a long time.
Author: Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Awards/Accolades: A 2019 YALSA Great Graphic Novels Top Ten pick, 5 starred reviews
Do We Own a Copy?: currently being processed