The thousands of people stranded in Gander, Newfoundland after planes were diverted there on 9/11 provides perfect circumstances for this story
Thirteen-year-old Rabia, along with her mother and younger brother, flee Afghanistan and the brutal Taliban for Pakistan. Relocating to North America, their flight falls on the fateful morning of 9/11. After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, their plane is diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. Also on the plane is an American boy named Colin, who struggles with his prejudices against Rabia and her family. The people in the small community of Gander, including teens Jason and Leah, open their hearts and their homes to the stranded passengers, volunteering to billet the hundreds of unexpected visitors to the island. Their kindness might be the bridge to understanding and acceptance that Colin and Rabia need.
Praise & Recognition
Part refugee story, part 9/11 remembrance, this is a welcome addition to a small shelf.
A Long Way From Home is a good story and a fine addition to the growing collection of September 11 novels.
Walsh has created real characters, places and situations that are all reachable and believable by the reader. Her tone and development of plot illustrate care and kindness and will attract empathetic readers. I would highly recommend this book to young readers, and to many classroom teachers for it's many cross-curricular links and for it's historical subject matter.
I found A Long Way From Home, by Canadian Alice Walsh, to be a very powerful and well-written novel.
The National Post
Alice Walsh’s A Long Way from Home is a compassionately told novel that straddles the line between children’s and young adult fiction, and the story it tells will appeal to younger and older audiences alike.
NewPages Book Reviews
… Walsh reminds us through her characters that with empathy and a willingness to listen, understanding and friendship can blossom, despite differences of culture and background.
The Chronic Herald
I liked this story because it was fictional but at the same time it was based on true events. I had no idea how hard it is to live in Afghanistan with the Taliban rule, especially for women and girls. I knew the Taliban had cruel ways but did not know they would wipe out whole families if they felt like it. The characters were all interesting and imaginable. This book would work for both boys and girls. I would say the reader should be at least twelve years old to read it. Any teen that likes fictional novel but also has an interest for world issues would enjoy this book!
Kid's Picks, Book Reviews By Young Readers, Canadian Teacher Magazine
Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award 2013 - Short-listed
Alice Walsh grew up in northern Newfoundland and now lives in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. She writes fiction and nonfiction for adults and children, and her articles and short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. Her published work includes seven books for children and a nonfiction book for adults. She has worked as a probation officer and nursery school teacher, and has taught creative writing for adults.