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Home Is Beyond the Mountains

by Celia Barker Lottridge

Published by Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2010
224 pages
ISBN: 978-0-88899-932-0

Ages 12 and older

This novel is based on actual events in northern Iran and Iraq in 1918 through the early 1920s. Nine-year-old Samira is an Assyrian girl who flees with her parents and two siblings from Turkish forces invading their Iranian village. Only Samira and her older brother, Benyamin, are alive by the time they reach the refugee camp near Baghdad. Despite their grief and exhaustion, the two establish a family-like relationship with other orphans, allowing them to form a strong community. After several years, a bold new orphanage director, Susan Shedd, decides to help the group of three hundred orphans return to Iran. They make the three-hundred-mile journey through the mountains on foot in the hopes of finding surviving members of their families. Celia Barker Lottridge is the niece of the real Susan Shedd. Her affecting novel is based on her aunt’s work, and also her mother’s memories of growing up in Persia. Lottridge’s historical account shows the children’s intense resilience and also their remarkable sense of responsibility for one another.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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