Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Once We Were Strangers by Shawn Smucker

Sometimes putting a human experience to an issue clarifies it. Such is the case here. We read of Mohammad, his wife and their sons. They escaped from Syria in 2012. He knew staying in the country would mean their death. They rode a bus part way with other refugees, ultimately walking through the wilderness into Jordan and into a barbed wire enclosed tented refugee camp. All Mohammad wanted was a good life for his family, free from the threat of death. But so did a million other refugees. Four years later Mohammad was in the United States and met Shawn Smucker.

I like how Smucker tells the story, starting with his initially meeting Mohammad. As a friendship develops, he reveals Mohammad's story of being a refugee and coming to America. He writes of the challenges refugees face. Besides learning a new language is finding work, finding a doctor, adjusting to all the new customs, on and on. Through it all Mohammad is full of hope, positive, friendly and so hospitable.

This is a good book for people who are afraid of Muslims and don't understand their need to find a safe place in America. This is a good account of a Syrian family trying to make their way in Jordan and then in the U.S. It is a good example of friendship and of how Christians can show love to others. There are discussion questions included so this would make a good choice for a reading group.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Shawn Smucker is the author of the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There. He lives with his wife and six children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find out more at www.shawnsmucker.com.

Revell, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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