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Winner of the CILIP Amnesty Honour 2017.
Shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction prize 2016.

Perfect for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. This is a beautiful, vivid and deeply moving story about a refugee boy who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre. This novel reminds us all of the importance of freedom, hope, and the power of a story to speak for anyone who’s ever struggled to find a safe home.

‘…a special book’ – Morris Gleitzman, author of the acclaimed ONCE series

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he’s at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie.

Carrying a notebook that she’s unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck – both talismans of her family’s past and the mother she’s lost – Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence.

As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie’s family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

(P) Orion Children’s Group 2016


The writing is beautiful and the message of survival and bravery a universal one
Think of it as a powerful polemic, yes, but also think of it as a story of the redeeming power of friendship and the vital nature of storytelling
The Bookbag
...a special book
Morris Gleitzman, author of the acclaimed ONCE series
An incredibly moving and powerful story about hope, freedom and survival. This is such an important topic, and a heart-achingly realistic story - everyone, both teenagers and adults, should read it.
Rachel Meier, Waterstones Canterbury, Waterstones.com
What a powerful story. Detention camps are no place for children. No place for humans.
Clare Hall-Craggs, Book Trust
This book made me cry in Temple Gardens at page 21. Loving it
Grass for Dinner Blog
So beautiful. And so important... encourages empathy. For kids and adults alike!
The Book Addict blog
A heart-rending, beautiful story. From the first line I knew that I would be utterly moved by the words written so passionately, weaving a narrative that is at times difficult to read. This is a book that will make change happen
The Book Activist blog
The Bone Sparrow - a vital and necessary book - should be in all schools throughout the UK and in the hand of every politician!
Sean Edwards, YLG Librarian
This is quite simply a heart-rending, beautiful story... the story is woven by an author who is clearly passionately wanting to address an issue that is now so prevalent in our world; surely it cannot be ignored. This is a book that will make change happen.
Reading Zone
Zana Fraillon's powerful and poetic tale of friendship in the face of injustice will fly away with your heart.
Katharine Marsh, Edgar Award-winning author of THE NIGHT TOURIST
Outstanding . . . This is an important, heartbreaking book with frequent, unexpected humour, that everyone, whether teenager or adult, should read.
A contender for the children's book of the year... It is a heartrending tale about how our stories make us, and also an angry polemic, vividly convincing in is detailed description of what it means for your home to be a tent in the dust behind a guarded fence.
The Sunday Times
One of those rare, special books that will break your heart with its honesty and beauty, but is ultimately hopeful and uplifting
Book Trust
a profoundly poignant novel about what it means to live as a refugee, neither inside nor out
The story of Subhi, sensitively told and immensely moving, gives us a glimpse of what homeless, imprisoned existence life feels like... and how the hope invested in a vision of a better future can end up being the difference between making it out, and surrendering to despair.
The Big Issue
This is a tragic, beautifully crafted and wonderful book whose chirpy, stoic hero shames us all. I urge you to read it
Stories can change how people think and this book aims to do just that
Claire Hennessey, IRISH TIMES
The Bone Sparrow is already drawing comparisons with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. The language captures the children's confusion, their hope mixed with worry over their families and dreams of freedom, but the novel doesn't flounder in abject misery when it easily could
Yorkshire Post
With an affecting and distinctive narrative voice ... she builds a convincing and complete world. Moving and memorable, The Bone Sparrow deserves to be read by all who care about our common humanity
The Guardian
Cleverly imagined and very affecting
Belfast Telegraph
Stories can change how people think and this book aims to do just that
Irish Times
Deeply moving novel
Aldershot News & Mail
A profoundly poignant novel
Metro (Across UK)
While addressing themes of loss, desperation, and injustice in an all-too-relevant setting, Fraillon's resonant novel underscores the healing power of story.
Starred Review from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
This year many books have been published that tell sad stories about refugee children -- this is the best
The Times
A beautiful story of hope and friendship
WRD About Books
This is one of those novels which has to be written despite the pain and horror of its subject matter ... Subhi and Jimmie are drawn together and emotionally sustained by the power of stories and the written word and that's a powerful message
School Librarian
You would be hard pushed to find a book more harrowing and relevant than this one ... This book is a tough but beautiful read and is a perfect introduction to a really difficult topic
I think The Bone Sparrow was really good and I would give it 5 stars
Adam, aged 9, Aquila Magazine
Lyrical, whimsical and magical, this beautiful book explores the power of storytelling
WRD About Books
This story was heartbreaking, wonderful and devastating at the same time ... I would definitely recommend this book
Iram Nawaz, Forrester High, Teen Titles