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Publisher's Summary

He is in a foreign country, he is alone, and he is just a boy.… Abbas Kazerooni is not yet 10, but he’s suddenly forced to leave his parents, his friends - his entire world - and flee Tehran. The Iran-Iraq war is at its bloodiest, and the Ayatollahs who rule Iran have reduced the recruitment age for the army. If Abbas doesn’t escape, it’s almost certain that he will be drafted and die fighting for a regime that has stripped his family of all they have.
On his own in the strange, often frightening city of Istanbul, Abbas grows up fast - with little more than his wits to guide him. He must conquer difficult things: how to live on his own, how to navigate a foreign city and culture when he doesn’t speak the language, and, most importantly, how to judge who is a friend and who is an enemy. Facing the unexpected as well as the everyday challenges of life on his own, Abbas walks a tightrope of survival - yearning to please the demanding father he has left behind, yet relishing his new found independence.
His quick thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and the kindness of strangers allow him to make the best of his dire situation in surprising ways. Does he have what it takes to not only survive against these challenging odds but achieve his parents’ ultimate dream for him: a visa to England, and the safety it represents?
This compelling true story of one young boy’s courage provides a powerful child’s-eye view of war, political tumult, and survival.
©2011 Abbas Kazerooni (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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Critic Reviews

"Readers of Abbas Kazerooni's incredible memoir will be rooting for him from the very first pages.… His frank narrative is clear, compelling, and utterly endearing. An unforgettable story…" (Naomi Shihab Nye, winner of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Prize in Children’s Literature)
"This heart-stopping memoir...left me wondering whether adults could be so resilient. Enormously inspiring on many levels!" (Suzanne Fisher Staples, author of Shabanu, a Newbery Honor Book)
"This is a compelling story full of tension and heartbreak." (Terry Farish, author of The Good Braider)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By christopher k rice on 07-12-18


I laughed, I cried, I was truly captivated and educated. This is a book everyone should read to really understand what happened to so many Persian families. Thank you Abbas for sharing your story in your own words and voice. I have Nothing but love and respect for your family.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Spinny318 on 05-18-18

An engaging and wonderfully told story of

An engaging and wonderfully told story of a 10 year old ingenious boy and his arduous journey to escape military life in 1980’s Iran. This story takes you from his relatively normal life to the stark reality of his parents need to save him from being drafted at the young age of 10 into the Iranian army. The family’s plan to send him out of the country is derailed when his mother is denied exit from the country at the last minute. He journeys on alone to fly to Turkey - a stop on his way to England to be taken care of by a cousin. This emotional tale is told so well that any reader of any age will be able to relate to his fears and success in learning to cope being on his own. I can’t wait to read the second book from this author.

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