Cover image for Crossing the Farak River
Title:
Crossing the Farak River
ISBN:
9781773213972

9781773213965
Physical Description:
215 pages : map ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Based on a true story.
Geographic Term:
Summary:
Fourteen-year-old Hasina is forced to flee everything she knows in this gripping account of the refugee crisis in Myanmar. For Hasina and her younger brother Araf, the constant threat of Sit Tat, the Myanmar Army, is a way of life in Rakhine province-just uttering the name is enough to send chills down their spines. As Rohingyas, they know that when they hear the wop wop wop of their helicopters there is one thing to do-run, and don't stop. So when soldiers invade their village one night, and Hasina awakes to her aunt's fearful voice, followed by smoke, and then a scream, run is what they do. Hasina races deep into the Rakhine forest to hide with her cousin Ghadiya and Araf. When they emerge some days later, to a smoldering village. Their house is standing but where is the rest of her family? With so many Rohingyas driven out, Hasina must figure out who she can trust for help and summon the courage to fight for her family amid the escalating conflict that threatens her world and her identity. Fast-paced and accessibly written, Crossing the Farak River tackles an important topic frequently in the news but little explored in fiction. It is a poignant and thought-provoking introduction for young readers to the military crackdown and ongoing persecution of Rohingya people, from the perspective of a brave and resilient protagonist. --
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Summary

Summary

Fourteen-year-old Hasina is forced to flee everything she knows in this gripping account of the refugee crisis in Myanmar.

For Hasina and her younger brother Araf, the constant threat of Sit Tat, the Myanmar Army, is a way of life in Rakhine province--just uttering the name is enough to send chills down their spines. As Rohingyas, they know that when they hear the wop wop wop of their helicopters there is one thing to do--run, and don't stop. So when soldiers invade their village one night, and Hasina awakes to her aunt's fearful voice, followed by smoke, and then a scream, run is what they do.

Hasina races deep into the Rakhine forest to hide with her cousin Ghadiya and Araf. When they emerge some days later, it is to a smouldering village. Their house is standing but where is the rest of her family? With so many Rohingyas driven out, Hasina must figure out who she can trust for help and summon the courage to fight for her family amid the escalating conflict that threatens her world and her identity.

Fast-paced and accessibly written, Hasina tackles an important topic frequently in the news but little explored in fiction. It is a poignant and thought-provoking introduction for young readers to the miliatry crackdown and ongoing persecution of Rohingya people, from the perspective of a brave and resilient protagonist.


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up--Drawing upon historical research and personal family history, Thin crafts a compelling story of life in the Rakhine province. Myanmar is a country in crisis, and 14-year-old Hasina's life is forever changed the day the helicopters arrive. It starts with a sinking feeling in her stomach, and shortly after the soldiers take over her entire village, rounding up all who identify as Rohingyas. As her community burns, Hasina escapes with her brother and cousin to the nearby forest. Motivated by her father's last words to keep the family together, Hasina wonders: Will their parents find them? Where will they go? How will they survive? Readers will find themselves gripped by the novel's rapidly changing events. While the plot touches upon difficult topics like human trafficking, violence, and death, they are referenced at a level appropriate and accessible for middle grades. Thin includes a time line, geographical resources, and a glossary to help readers better understand the ongoing conflict among the Arakan Army, Muslims, Buddhists, Burmese, and Rohingyas. VERDICT This title offers high readability and lends itself to nonfiction pairings exploring the cultural history and governance of Myanmar. A must-purchase for all middle grade libraries focused on building a diverse collection featuring complex world issues and #OwnVoices authors.--Monica Cabarcas, Albemarle High School, Charlottesville, VA


Kirkus Review

When helicopters of the Sit Tat, Myanmar's army, arrive in their northern Rakhine province town, 14-year-old Hasina fears for her family and their Rohingya Muslim community. State broadcasts depict the Rohingya as "Chittagonian Bengali Muslims," foreign terrorists, and attempt to pit Buddhist and Muslim neighbors against one another. When the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army clashes with the Sit Tat, the latter immediately retaliates with violence, burning Rohingya homes. Hasina, her 6-year-old brother, and her 13-year-old cousin, flee into the forest, her father charging Hasina to keep them all safe and promising to come for them. But after days in the forest avoiding soldiers, the children make their way back only to find the adults gone, possibly rounded up. As Hasina desperately seeks to learn where the adults have been taken or if they are even alive, she must also figure out how the children can survive and stay safe even as people try to exploit them--or worse. In this novel, Burmese Australian author Aung Thin introduces young readers to the plight of the Rohingya, alluding to the horrors and violence of targeted persecution while also addressing how decades of authoritarian and military rule have affected the entirety of the country. An abrupt ending jars readers but emphasizes that for children in conflict zones, safety is elusive. Characters are Rohingya, Mro, and Burmese; Islamic terms are localized to both Rohingya language and context. An urgent, timely narrative. (author's note, timeline, glossary, resources) (Fiction. 11-15) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Fourteen-year-old Hasina likes playing soccer, studying geometry, and being with her family in their multiethnic town of Teknadaung in the state of Rakhine on the coast of Myanmar. But all of this falls apart when a military occupation targeting the Muslim Rohingya population sets the neighborhood on fire, separating the family. Suddenly, Hasina is responsible for keeping her younger brother and cousin safe, even as she worries about the rest of her family. The author, aware that ethnic and religious divisions are easily sown by the media, ignorance, and fear, packs a great deal of information into this compelling story that will educate readers on a real, ongoing situation while also building empathy. A variety of characters embodies the array of attitudes towards the Rohingya in an all-too-familiar tale of communities torn apart by political interests. Hasina is a brave and resourceful protagonist, and her brother, Araf, adds a touch of levity to this otherwise heavy story of loss, displacement, and war.