Cover image for In search of safety : voices of refugees
In search of safety : voices of refugees
1st ed.
Physical Description:
246 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm.
Welcome to Nebraska, Welcome home -- PART I: ARRIVE: Fraidoon / Country of origin: Afghanistan / Ethnic group: Tajik (Map: Afghanistan ; The first day of my life ; Fraidoon ; Fred ; Who would marry someone with a fatwa on his head? ; Coming to America, the hard way ; The black hole of red tape) -- PART II: BIRTH: Nathan / Country of origin: Myanmar/Thailand / Ethnic group: Karen (Map: Myanmar and Thailand ; Flip-flops, rice, soccer ; TV, hamburgers, football) -- PART III: RUN: Nyarout / Country of origin: South Sudan / Ethnic group: Nuer (Map: South Sudan and Ethiopia ; In Africa ; In America) -- PART IV: SURVIVE: Shireen / Country of origin: Northern Iraq / Ethnic group: Yazidi (Map: Northern Iraq ; Captured ; For sale ; The black hole of captivity ; After) -- PART V: HOME: Dieudone / Country of origin: Burundi / Ethnic group: Hutu and Tutsi (Map: Burundi and Tanzania ; Early one morning ; Heaven ; Umoja) -- PART VI: NOTES AND RESOURCES (The refugee process ; Author's note ; Acknowledgments ; About Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska ; About the Yazda Cultural Center ; Chapter Notes ; Time Lines ; Resources ; Index)
Documents the stories of five refugees resettled in Nebraska, including a translator from Afghanistan and a Yazidi woman from Iraq, and others from Myanmar, South Sudan, and Burundi, detailing why they had to leave their homelands, their struggles to reach the United States, and their new lives in America.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 305.906914 KUK 1 1
Book 305.906914 KUK 1 1
Book 305.906914 KUK 1 1

On Order



Five refugees recount their courageous journeys to America -- and the unimaginable struggles that led them to flee their homelands -- in a powerful work from the author of Beyond Magenta and We Are Here to Stay.

"From 1984, when I was born, until July 16, 2017, when I arrived in the United States, I never lived in a place where there was no war." -- Fraidoon

An Iraqi woman who survived capture by ISIS. A Sudanese teen growing up in civil war and famine. An Afghan interpreter for the U.S. Army living under threat of a fatwa. They are among the five refugees who share their stories in award-winning author and photographer Susan Kuklin's latest masterfully crafted narrative. The five, originally from Afghanistan, Myanmar, South Sudan, Iraq, and Burundi, give gripping first-person testimonies about what it is like to flee war, face violent threats, grow up in a refugee camp, be sold into slavery, and resettle in America. Illustrated with full-color photographs of the refugees' new lives in Nebraska, this work is essential reading for understanding the devastating impact of war and persecution -- and the power of resilience, optimism, and the will to survive. Included in the end matter are chapter notes, information on resettlement and U.S. citizenship, historical time lines of war and political strife in the refugees' countries of origin, resources for further reading, and an index.

Author Notes

Susan Kuklin is the award-winning author and photographer of more than thirty books for children and young adults that address social issues and culture, including No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row; Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, a Stonewall Honor Book; and We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults. Her photographs have appeared in documentary films and in Time magazine, Newsweek, and the New York Times. Susan Kuklin lives in New York City.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--Kuklin features five powerful stories of refugees that culminate in making a home in Nebraska. While the voices are diverse, they have all experienced incomprehensible trauma before settling in America. The people include an Afghani translator for the military, a Karen man (presently known as Burma or Myanmar) without a homeland, a South Sudanese survivor of civil war, a Yazidi captive of ISIS, and a man of combined Hutu and Tutsi heritage who escaped genocide. Each story details their upbringing and then explains the conflict leading to their status and how they were able to relocate. A reflection on their current welfare ends each section. The book lives up to its subtitle and packs a visceral punch for readers. Discussions of rape, physical and emotional abuse, and war are not sugarcoated. For teen readers, the details could be unsettling. Kuklin maintains a clear focus on the first-person narratives, but they are a little uneven because English is a new language for the speakers. Sentences are stunted and short yet powerfully demonstrate global differences in politically or religiously unstable countries. Most of the refugees were able to relocate using non-government organizations (NGOs). VERDICT Add this title to collections to continue to develop comprehensive #Ownvoices narratives. This one reaches wide and deep.--Alicia Abdul, Albany High School, NY

Horn Book Review

Hewing to a definition of refugees as "people who are forced to leave their country because they are being persecuted," Kuklin profiles five such young adults: Fraidoon/Fred from Afghanistan; Hei Blut/Nathan from Myanmar; Nyarout from South Sudan; Shireen from Iraq; and Dieudonne from Burundi. Their common bond is Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, "one of the most successful resettlement programs in the country," which sponsored or cared for each of these intrepid survivors. While each lengthy profile-told in the first person and illustrated with Kuklin's full-color photographs-covers the expanse of each subject's story, Kuklin chooses one or another stage of the journey to highlight, from the red tape Fraidoon encountered despite his work as a translator for the American forces fighting the Taliban, to the slavery endured by Shireen, a Yazidi, at the hands of ISIS. The circumstances of all five refugees were perilous and frightening; their tenacity and courage (and even humor) are salutary. An exemplary appendix of notes and resources broadens the impact of the individual accounts; the accounts themselves personalize the crisis and statistics. Index not seen. Roger Sutton May/June 2020 p.141(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Chronicles the painful, yet powerfully uplifting, stories of five refugees who came to the U.S. in search of better futures. The people sharing their stories are Shireen, a Yazidi woman from Iraq who was sold into sex slavery by the Islamic State group; Nyarout, a Nuer woman from South Sudan who grew up in civil war and fami Fraidoon, a Tajik man from Afghanistan living under the threat of a fatwa; Nathan, a Karen man from Myanmar who was born in a refugee camp in Thail and Dieudonné, a Hutu and Tutsi man from Burundi who fled ethnic cleansing at age 4. Written in a forthright and unembellished manner and not for the faint of heart, this book will find its place among essential readings for understanding the devastating toll conflicts have on populations throughout the world. It is also a beautiful testimony--a lesson in life, really--to the power of resilience and will to survive displayed by each of the five protagonists, now resettled in Nebraska. Kuklin, who has previously written about similar issues (see 2019's We Are Here To Stay), does a brilliant job of capturing and transmitting the gripping, often raw, but always hopeful first-person testimonies, and readers cannot help but feel empathy for the individuals as they learn the horrors they survived (but never overcame, in some cases). A brutal, must-read account. (maps, sources, author's note, chapter notes, timelines, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

This continues Kuklin's substantial body of nonfiction centering the lives of marginalized individuals. This work documents the stories of five refugees (and their families) who were resettled in the U.S. through the Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska: Fraidoon from Afghanistan, Nathan from Myanmar, Nyarout from South Sudan, Shireen from Iraq, and Dieudonné from Burundi. The narratives are presented in first person, presumably told to Kuklin, which lends a poignant immediacy to the text. Readers learn about the causes of conflict in each person's homeland and the growing pressures that have led to their flights; the reasons for forced migration are varied and various. Maps, time lines, and other supplemental back matter provide context. Candid and posed photographs add valuable visual information. A significant theme threading through the stories is how long and involved the refugee resettlement experience is, usually taking years, reams of paperwork, and constant diligence on the part of every person involved. A necessary addition to middle-school curriculum.

Table of Contents

Welcome to Nebraska, Welcome Homep. ix
Part I Arrive
Fraidoon | Country of Origin: Afghanistan | Ethnic Group: Tajik
Map: Afghanistanp. x
1 The First Day of My Lifep. 3
2 Fraidoonp. 17
3 Fredp. 28
4 Who Would Marry Someone with a Fatwa on His Head?p. 35
5 Coming to America, the Hard Wayp. 47
6 The Black Hole of Red Tapep. 54
Part II Birth
Nathan | Country of Origin: Myanmar/Thailand | Ethnic Group: Kan
Map: Myanmar and Thailandp. 64
7 Flip-Flops, Rice, Soccerp. 67
8 TV, Hamburgers, Footballp. 77
Part III Run
Nyarout | Country of Origin: South Sudan | Ethnic Group: Nuer
Map: South Sudan and Ethiopiap. 92
9 In Africap. 95
10 In Americap. 109
Part IV Survive
Shireen | Country of Origin: Northern Iraq | Ethnic Group: Yazidi
Map: Northern Iraqp. 134
11 Capturedp. 137
12 For Salep. 147
13 The Black Hole of Captivityp. 155
14 Afterp. 165
Part V Home
Dieudonné | Country of Origin: Burundi | Ethnic Group: Hutu and Tutsi
Map: Burundi and Tanzaniap. 170
15 Early One Morningp. 173
16 Heavenp. 183
17 Umojap. 193
Part VI Notes and Resources
The Refugee Processp. 214
Author's Notep. 218
Acknowledgmentsp. 221
About Lutheran Family Services of Nebraskap. 224
About the Yazda Cultural Centerp. 227
Chapter Notesp. 228
Time Linesp. 235
Resourcesp. 241
Indexp. 244