Author(s): Elizabeth Laird
Welcome to Nowhere is a powerful and beautifully written story about the life of one family caught up in civil war by the award-winning author Elizabeth Laird. Twelve-year-old Omar and his brothers and sisters were born and raised in the beautiful and bustling city of Bosra, Syria. Omar doesn't care about politics - all he wants is to grow up to become a successful businessman who will take the world by storm. But when his clever older brother, Musa, gets mixed up with some young political activists, everything changes ...Before long, bombs are falling, people are dying, and Omar and his family have no choice but to flee their home with only what they can carry. Yet no matter how far they run, the shadow of war follows them - until they have no other choice than to attempt the dangerous journey to escape their homeland altogether. But where do you go when you can't go home?
Omar, 12, lives in the beautiful Syrian city of Bosra with his parents, older brother Musa who has cerebral palsy, clever sister Eman and younger brother Fuad and baby sister Nadia.
A keen entrepreneur with two part-time jobs he fits in between his school hours, Omar doesn’t care about politics. He dreams of owning his own shop one day and being rich enough to buy his mother a gold necklace. But then Government crackdowns on student and civilian unrest start and Baba (Dad) is transferred to another government ministry in Dara'a. Musa gets mixed up with some young political activists at their new school, putting the family in grave danger. Soon bombs are falling and people are dying and Omar’s family have to flee with only what they can carry. But the shadow of civil war still follows them until their only choice is to escape into Jordan – and a refugee camp.
Laird depicts the heartbreaking refugee story with compassion, warmth and occasional humour. Her characters are realistic and completely believable. Omar is a bit cheeky, loves doing the deal and hates school work, but shows great courage and thoughtfulness in times of crisis. Musa is a brilliant student and politically aware, but constantly battles prejudice from people who write him off as stupid because of his speech impediment and shaky gait. Eman has ambitions to be a teacher and lives in fear of being married off to one of Baba’s old cronies. Even Baba, who is unwavering in his loyalty to the government’s strong line against activists, begins to wonder if everything is not all black or white. A compassionate, “walk-a-while-in-their-shoes” story for age 11 plus.
A foreword and a letter from the author explain in simple terms the tragic consequences of Syria’s civil war – the plight of millions of displaced people and the rise of fanatical factions resulting from this unrest. Laird lived in Lebanon during that country’s civil war and has written many books about the plight of refugees, child trafficking and orphans, including Oranges in No Man’s Land (set in Lebanon), The Garbage King (set in an Ethiopian slum), Kiss the Dust (the Kurdistan conflict) and Lost Riders (Middle East child camel jockeys).
Forced to flee his home in Syria, a young boy and his family face the dangers of civil war.
"Deeply moving . . . you can always count on Elizabeth Laird to write fearlessly but with compassion and this story will give readers plenty to think about." --Bookbag
Elizabeth Laird is the multi-award-winning author of several much-loved children's books, including The Garbage King, The Prince Who Walked with Lions and The Fastest Boy in the World. She has been shortlisted for the prestigious CILIP Carnegie Medal six times. She lives in Britain now, but still likes to travel as much as she can.