Reviews /

To the Other Side

Authored by Erika Meza
Illustrated by Erika Meza
Published by Hachette Children's Group

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When you begin reading To the Other Side, you almost feel like it is a game. The masks are bright and colourful, it looks like people are sharing a wondrous journey. However, as you read further and delve into the heart of the story, you come to realise, this is not a fun adventure. It is the hunt for hope, for home and for life.

The young girl and her brother defy odds that are pitted against them time and time again- fear, obstacles, danger. Somehow, they are amongst the few who make it to a border, only to be continually questioned, moved around and that fear and danger continue to lurk in shadows.

Expertly written and illustrated, this book truly brought home the plight of refugees to me. This book highlights just how books can provide insight and empathy to the situations others face. Many of us cannot imagine fleeing for our lives and for safety but it happens constantly and it is books like this that will help the world to become more understanding, empathetic and helpful to those moving from a horrible situation to find safety and a welcome.

This powerful story would challenge the thinking of children in incredible ways. Having the reader imagine sleeping rough, being hungry and tired and never knowing where the end might be. Having them imagine a younger sibling relying on them and trying to reassure that all will be ok. An incredible force of nature, To the Other Side is a must have in schools for children from 3 years upwards.

Longlisted for the Jhalek Prize 2024

Selected for Empathy Lab 2024 Collection