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Prize-winning journalist and the co-author of smash New York Times bestseller I Am Malala, Christina Lamb, now tells the inspiring true story of another remarkable young hero: Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager born with cerebral palsy, whose harrowing journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair is a breathtaking tale of fortitude, grit, and hope that lends a face to Prize-winning journalist and the co-author of smash New York Times bestseller I Am Malala, Christina Lamb, now tells the inspiring true story of another remarkable young hero: Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager born with cerebral palsy, whose harrowing journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair is a breathtaking tale of fortitude, grit, and hope that lends a face to the greatest humanitarian issue of our time, the Syrian refugee crisis. For millions around the globe, sixteen-year-old Nujeen Mustafa embodies the best of the human spirit. Confined to a wheelchair because of her cerebral palsy and denied formal schooling in Syria because of her illness, Nujeen taught herself English by watching American soap operas. When her small town became the epicenter of the brutal fight between ISIS militants and US-backed Kurdish troops in 2014, she and her family were forced to flee. Despite her physical limitations, Nujeen embarked on the arduous trek to safety and a new life. The grueling sixteen-month odyssey by foot, boat, and bus took her across Turkey and the Mediterranean to Greece, through Macedonia to Serbia and Hungary, and finally, to Germany. Yet, in spite of the tremendous physical hardship she endured, Nujeen's extraordinary optimism never wavered. Refusing to give in to despair or see herself as a passive victim, she kept her head high. As she told a BBC reporter, "You should fight to get what you want in this world." Nujeen's positivity and resolve infuses this unforgettable story of one young woman determined to make a better life for herself. Told by acclaimed British foreign correspondent Christina Lamb, Nujeen is a unique and powerful memoir that gives voice to the Syrian refugee crisis, helping us to understand that the world must change—and offering the inspiration to make that change reality.


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Prize-winning journalist and the co-author of smash New York Times bestseller I Am Malala, Christina Lamb, now tells the inspiring true story of another remarkable young hero: Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager born with cerebral palsy, whose harrowing journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair is a breathtaking tale of fortitude, grit, and hope that lends a face to Prize-winning journalist and the co-author of smash New York Times bestseller I Am Malala, Christina Lamb, now tells the inspiring true story of another remarkable young hero: Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager born with cerebral palsy, whose harrowing journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair is a breathtaking tale of fortitude, grit, and hope that lends a face to the greatest humanitarian issue of our time, the Syrian refugee crisis. For millions around the globe, sixteen-year-old Nujeen Mustafa embodies the best of the human spirit. Confined to a wheelchair because of her cerebral palsy and denied formal schooling in Syria because of her illness, Nujeen taught herself English by watching American soap operas. When her small town became the epicenter of the brutal fight between ISIS militants and US-backed Kurdish troops in 2014, she and her family were forced to flee. Despite her physical limitations, Nujeen embarked on the arduous trek to safety and a new life. The grueling sixteen-month odyssey by foot, boat, and bus took her across Turkey and the Mediterranean to Greece, through Macedonia to Serbia and Hungary, and finally, to Germany. Yet, in spite of the tremendous physical hardship she endured, Nujeen's extraordinary optimism never wavered. Refusing to give in to despair or see herself as a passive victim, she kept her head high. As she told a BBC reporter, "You should fight to get what you want in this world." Nujeen's positivity and resolve infuses this unforgettable story of one young woman determined to make a better life for herself. Told by acclaimed British foreign correspondent Christina Lamb, Nujeen is a unique and powerful memoir that gives voice to the Syrian refugee crisis, helping us to understand that the world must change—and offering the inspiration to make that change reality.

30 review for Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair

  1. 5 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    I love how Nujeen not only told of her month long journey towards freedom, but she also addresses the entire migrant/refugee crisis and the racism, discrimination and fear towards them and how what we're told in the media isn't always true. Nujeen wants all refugees to be seen as PEOPLE, not just a number. She also addresses the fact that a lot of refugees didn't want to leave their country and hope to one day return there. She says that yes, looking after migrants costs money, but these people I love how Nujeen not only told of her month long journey towards freedom, but she also addresses the entire migrant/refugee crisis and the racism, discrimination and fear towards them and how what we're told in the media isn't always true. Nujeen wants all refugees to be seen as PEOPLE, not just a number. She also addresses the fact that a lot of refugees didn't want to leave their country and hope to one day return there. She says that yes, looking after migrants costs money, but these people have skills and most are educated and can benefit any country they settle in. People are so against bringing in refugees and if the EU brought in all the 1.1 million Syrians who came to Europe, they would still only make up 0.2% of the population! This was not only inspiring and heartbreaking, but I also learnt a lot from this. I highly recommend it!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This memoir puts a different face on the Syrian refugee crisis. Nujeen was born with cerebral palsy and has spent her life in a wheelchair. She is a sixteen-year-old Kurdish girl and has very little formal education. She taught herself English by watching U.S. soap operas on television. In 2014 her City, Koban, was the center of fighting between ISIS and the U.S. backed Kurdish forces. They escaped to Aleppo where they lived a few years and then fled to Turkey. Her sister Nisreen helped her and t This memoir puts a different face on the Syrian refugee crisis. Nujeen was born with cerebral palsy and has spent her life in a wheelchair. She is a sixteen-year-old Kurdish girl and has very little formal education. She taught herself English by watching U.S. soap operas on television. In 2014 her City, Koban, was the center of fighting between ISIS and the U.S. backed Kurdish forces. They escaped to Aleppo where they lived a few years and then fled to Turkey. Her sister Nisreen helped her and they fled to the island of Lesbos in Greece. This is where Fegal Keane of the BBC interviewed her. They traveled by ferry and bus to the Serbian/Hungarian border; they arrived as it was closed to the refugees. This is where the BBC again interviewed her. They had to then walk to Croatia and on to Germany. The sisters finally reached Germany and were reunited with brother Bland and sister Nahda. She has asked Germany for Asylum. She is attending a special school for pupils with disabilities. She states that Germany and the German people have been kind to her. She is learning German and making friends. Her parents remain in Turkey. This is an uplifting story. Nujeen faced many dangers and met life with a positive attitude. I have great admiration for her sister Nisreen who took care of her on the trip. The memoir was written with Christine Lamb who also co-wrote “I am Malala”. The courage of both these young women is amazing. The memoir is clearly written and the details from life in Aleppo to the trek to Germany are dramatic. This is a must-read book for everyone of all ages. Raghad Chaar does an excellent job narrating the story. Chaar is an actress and producer. She is a graduate of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and an audiobook narrator.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rennie

    I fell in love with Nujeen Mustafa, like many did, when Last Week Tonight host John Oliver used BBC interview clips of the teenage Syrian refugee at a way station on the Serbian-Hungarian border as she traveled to Germany with her sister. She was so sweet and optimistic despite her unimaginably difficult journey and experiences in the war-torn homeland she’d fled. And she was so unabashedly in love with Days of Our Lives, it was impossible not to be charmed by her. And at the same time, heartbro I fell in love with Nujeen Mustafa, like many did, when Last Week Tonight host John Oliver used BBC interview clips of the teenage Syrian refugee at a way station on the Serbian-Hungarian border as she traveled to Germany with her sister. She was so sweet and optimistic despite her unimaginably difficult journey and experiences in the war-torn homeland she’d fled. And she was so unabashedly in love with Days of Our Lives, it was impossible not to be charmed by her. And at the same time, heartbroken for her – separated from her parents, on the way to an unknown destination through difficult terrain in European countries that were often less than welcoming to the flood of refugees fleeing ISIS and war in the Middle East. It’s a situation incomprehensible for us in the West, and in the last years it’s been the reality for thousands. Nujeen, a Kurd originally from Manbij in northern Syria, tells her story with eloquence and a wisdom that exceeds her years, plus a rare talent that many adults don’t even have, of directly acknowledging her flaws and how she’s trying to learn and grow. It’s clear she’s had to grow up faster and differently than many her age, not only because of her life in the troubled Middle East but managing her physical struggles. Born with cerebral palsy, she’s confined to a wheelchair and tells in her memoir of the distance that disability created between her and other kids, even in her own family. At the same time, it helped her illuminate a life of the mind instead. Unable to easily leave her family’s fifth floor apartment in Aleppo, she became a TV fanatic but a smart one, consuming documentaries on all kinds of topics but with a special preference for science, space and nature, and of course honing her English with the melodrama of Days. We learn a lot of what makes her tick – she likes entrepreneurs – Google’s Sergey Brin, Apple’s Steve Jobs; and she doesn’t like being deceived, whether that’s by manipulated marketing or government propaganda. It’s in passages like these that so much of her exuberant, optimistic personality shines through, and like John Oliver said, she would enrich any country lucky enough to have her. Her expression is certainly helped and shaped by co-author Christina Lamb, the British journalist and foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times. She’s written extensively about current events in the Middle East and also collaborated with Malala Yousafzi on 2013’s I Am Malala. Now living with two of her sisters in a suburb of Cologne and still awaiting her official asylum permission, Nujeen writes about new difficulties she faces, like the prejudice against refugees and the challenge of going to school after a lifetime of self-education with TV documentaries at home. But she’s also had a lot of triumphs and been the recipient of small kindnesses shown to her and her sister, like a bag of chocolate from a German neighbor, or an iPad from fellow Days fans. She’s far more adept than some people twice her age at taking the good with the bad, and making the best of situations that would’ve broken others with her own brand of light, breezy philosophizing. When refugees began arriving on European shores, they were faceless. Nujeen talks about this, pointing out the insensitivity of much of the language used to refer to them. She forces us to confront this, and to see them individually, the same as everyone else. It’s not such a big request. I received an advance ebook copy for review courtesy of the publisher.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    Such an incredible story. The refugee crisis is so relevant, especially here in Germany, and it was eye-opening to hear Nujeen's story of how she had to flee her country Syria in a wheelchair (!!) and how she settled here in Germany. While being a fangirl of Days of Our Lives, hahah. Such an incredible story. The refugee crisis is so relevant, especially here in Germany, and it was eye-opening to hear Nujeen's story of how she had to flee her country Syria in a wheelchair (!!) and how she settled here in Germany. While being a fangirl of Days of Our Lives, hahah.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    I think I was expecting more of a memoir than history not that I dislike history. It just wasn't what I expected. I'd like to finish it though. I went back and finished this one and decided it is a 2.5 maybe even a solid 3 star. I really like Nujeen but truthfully it seems as though some of this may not be 100% true. Maybe I'm wrong. Did anyone else get that feeling though? Almost put it under "'written by the C.I.A." but decided that would be going a bit too far. Let me know what others thought of I think I was expecting more of a memoir than history not that I dislike history. It just wasn't what I expected. I'd like to finish it though. I went back and finished this one and decided it is a 2.5 maybe even a solid 3 star. I really like Nujeen but truthfully it seems as though some of this may not be 100% true. Maybe I'm wrong. Did anyone else get that feeling though? Almost put it under "'written by the C.I.A." but decided that would be going a bit too far. Let me know what others thought of this harrowing tale of escape across borders.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jody

    Slightly ranty review. I think I need to stop reading memoirs. Nujeen's book certainly puts a face on the Syrian refugee crisis, but ... ugh, I feel like a total arse for saying this ... I didn't find it a particularly likeable one. I think I expected another Malala, who after seeing her on TV had me absolutely mesmerised by her eloquence and maturity, but unfortunately I didn't find this in Nujeen. Let's not mince around: her situation is absolutely horrific, and what she and the millions of oth Slightly ranty review. I think I need to stop reading memoirs. Nujeen's book certainly puts a face on the Syrian refugee crisis, but ... ugh, I feel like a total arse for saying this ... I didn't find it a particularly likeable one. I think I expected another Malala, who after seeing her on TV had me absolutely mesmerised by her eloquence and maturity, but unfortunately I didn't find this in Nujeen. Let's not mince around: her situation is absolutely horrific, and what she and the millions of other refugees have gone though, nobody should have to endure, but ... in all honesty, and I don't exactly know how, she came off as whiny, selfish and entitled. She even complained when her favourite show (Days of Our Lives) made a clip, just for her, with her favourite characters - because it wasn't realistic. She notes, many times, that refugees are people, not statistics, and this is something we all need to remember, however at the end of the book, states "In some ways, I am glad that they blocked off the way and no one is coming any more.". Seriously? Are the refugees now stranded somehow less "people" than you are? That was pretty much the final nail in the coffin for me with this. Funnily enough, although I adore Malala, I wasn't a fan of her book as it didn't feel like it was written by her. This book, I didn't enjoy because it really felt like it was written by Nujeen. (I know, I know!). It felt clunky, disjointed and in need of editing - or hey, a co-writer! Wait ... I will say one thing, there was a sentence in the book that absolutely resonated with me: "This is the real world, and I wish I lived in a better one." Agreed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    I want to put this book into the hands of every politician on the planet. Nujeen is the face and spirit of Syrians forced out of their homes. The abuse and obstacles she and her sister faced as they met barrier after barrier in their search for peace and rest. Let us show that we can learn from our mistakes and that we can take pride in doing the right thing, which is seeing refugees as people with the right to live anywhere they want.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Gillies

    How do you rate someone's life story? This was a very interesting story of one person's escape from the war in Syria into Germany. This situation is something I wish my country (New Zealand) would do more about and make more of an effort to understand- myself included, so this was an important read in my opinion too. How do you rate someone's life story? This was a very interesting story of one person's escape from the war in Syria into Germany. This situation is something I wish my country (New Zealand) would do more about and make more of an effort to understand- myself included, so this was an important read in my opinion too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chris Steeden

    I have been to Lesbos. It is one of the Greek Islands. It was this island that 16-year-old Nujeen Mustafa gets to in 2015. It is a tranquil island even though it is touristy and quite beautiful. It was odd seeing the news at the time of Syrian refugees paying smugglers ($1,500 each plus another 50 for a life jacket) to get to that island. The gateway to Europe. Nujeen explains in the prologue that it was not just Syrians. There were people from Iraq, Morocco and Afghanistan. ‘To be leaving all y I have been to Lesbos. It is one of the Greek Islands. It was this island that 16-year-old Nujeen Mustafa gets to in 2015. It is a tranquil island even though it is touristy and quite beautiful. It was odd seeing the news at the time of Syrian refugees paying smugglers ($1,500 each plus another 50 for a life jacket) to get to that island. The gateway to Europe. Nujeen explains in the prologue that it was not just Syrians. There were people from Iraq, Morocco and Afghanistan. ‘To be leaving all you knew and had built up in your own country to make this dangerous uncertain journey, it must be bad.’ 1.2 million refugees headed to Europe in 2015. Nujeen is a Kurd. She was born with a type of cerebral palsy so all the above was done with her in a wheelchair and her sister, Nasrine, pushing and dragging her. Incredible. She provides a wonderful description of her life in the first few chapters and also the political turmoil at that time. From the Arab Spring that started in Tunisia that sent a wave across North Africa and the Middle East. Unlike Egypt the protestors in Syria were hit by Assad’s tanks. The family were living in Aleppo at this time but by July 2012 they had to leave. The destruction got to close. ‘By the end of 2012 it seemed like the Battle of Aleppo would never end. It was a full-scale war where on one side there was Assad and Hezbollah and on the other all sorts of rebel groups including criminal gangs and Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as the al-Nusra Front), which is the al-Qaeda branch in Syria.’ This is such a personal human story of a normal family trying not to get killed as brutal destruction engulfs everywhere they go. ‘After a while we got so used to the bombing that one day I realized I couldn’t remember normal any more.’ Her story to get to the promised land of Germany is captivating but not without humour along the way. ‘Unlike some refugees who paid smugglers for the whole journey, we were Pay as You Go Migrants.’ It’s like a crazy plane, trains and automobiles but with refugees. Syria, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany. I have probably missed some of the countries she passed through but it was an epic 3,500 mile journey. Smugglers, con men, people that want to do you harm but also kind, caring people who would do anything to help you. All of humanity in its grotesque and beauty is met along the way. An amazing journey from a war-torn home through the wilds of Europe. A quite captivating read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yash Sharma

    Nujeen : An extraordinary story of a Syria girl To be a successful migrant you need to know the law. You need to be resourceful. You need a smartphone and to be on Facebook and Whatsapp. You need some money. Ideally you know a bit of English. And in my case you need a sister to push your wheelchair. – Nujeen An inspirational story of an extraordinary Syrian teenager. Read this book and feel the pain of all those people who had left their countries either because of the war or natural calamities, an Nujeen : An extraordinary story of a Syria girl To be a successful migrant you need to know the law. You need to be resourceful. You need a smartphone and to be on Facebook and Whatsapp. You need some money. Ideally you know a bit of English. And in my case you need a sister to push your wheelchair. – Nujeen An inspirational story of an extraordinary Syrian teenager. Read this book and feel the pain of all those people who had left their countries either because of the war or natural calamities, and because of which they are living as refugees in an unknown country. The language of the book is very easy to be read. And I recommend to all the readers to read this book. Very inspirational story. My Ratings : ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5) I hope you like this, thanks for reading, Jai Hind. For more information You can visit - https://dontbignorant.in/

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bev Walkling

    This book was co-written by the same person who co-wrote Malala's book. It is an easy enough read to be suited to young adults but an interesting enough book to be read by adults as well. It tells the story of teenage Nujeen, a Kurdish girl from Syria who also happens to have a form of cerebral palsy. The book starts as she waits to board a boat to Lesbos in Greece but then goes back to her early days as the youngest child in a large family, spoiled by all because of her disability. Her family l This book was co-written by the same person who co-wrote Malala's book. It is an easy enough read to be suited to young adults but an interesting enough book to be read by adults as well. It tells the story of teenage Nujeen, a Kurdish girl from Syria who also happens to have a form of cerebral palsy. The book starts as she waits to board a boat to Lesbos in Greece but then goes back to her early days as the youngest child in a large family, spoiled by all because of her disability. Her family lived in a fifth floor walk up apartment, so Nujeen rarely left her home. Eventually her family moves to Aleppo because of fears for where they were living but life in Aleppo gradually gets worse and worse until her family makes a decision to send the younger family members to Germany where a brother lives. Nujeen has never been to school but has watched enough television to teach herself English from watching "Days of Our Lives" among other shows. She tells from her perspective how the war in Syria began and escalated and I personally came away with a much better understanding of the issues than I had before reading the book. Each refugee faces their own unique challenges as they leave Syria for what they hope will be a better life. Nujeen felt that relatively speaking, her journey was easier than that faced by others because of special care she received as a person with a disability. All her life she had really defined herself by her disability and on reaching Germany and going to school for the first time she finally came to see herself as a person who could be more independent. I think this would be a great book to have on a school reading list as it truly shows that a refugee is also a human being who loves and cares for others and who has hopes and dreams just as we all do.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Honestly, I never would have chosen this book to read outside of school, but I'm so glad that I did. It opened my eyes to the real, personal, horrific trials that refugees face. Nujeen displayed so much kindness, good humor, and optimism throughout her journey. I also love that this book is interactive: I looked up a lot of the real places and videos that Nujeen mentions. She includes very discussive themes like living with a disability, knowing the importance of home, sibling relationships, and Honestly, I never would have chosen this book to read outside of school, but I'm so glad that I did. It opened my eyes to the real, personal, horrific trials that refugees face. Nujeen displayed so much kindness, good humor, and optimism throughout her journey. I also love that this book is interactive: I looked up a lot of the real places and videos that Nujeen mentions. She includes very discussive themes like living with a disability, knowing the importance of home, sibling relationships, and of course, politics and religion. I would recommend this memoir to anyone who is even remotely interested in the refugee crisis!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    "Prize-winning journalist and the co-author of smash New York Times bestseller I Am Malala, Christina Lamb, now tells the inspiring true story of another remarkable young hero: Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager born with cerebral palsy, whose harrowing journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair is a breathtaking tale of fortitude, grit, and hope that lends a face to the greatest humanitarian issue of our time, the Syrian refugee crisis. For millions around the globe, sixteen-year-old Nuje "Prize-winning journalist and the co-author of smash New York Times bestseller I Am Malala, Christina Lamb, now tells the inspiring true story of another remarkable young hero: Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager born with cerebral palsy, whose harrowing journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair is a breathtaking tale of fortitude, grit, and hope that lends a face to the greatest humanitarian issue of our time, the Syrian refugee crisis. For millions around the globe, sixteen-year-old Nujeen Mustafa embodies the best of the human spirit. Confined to a wheelchair because of her cerebral palsy and denied formal schooling in Syria because of her illness, Nujeen taught herself English by watching American soap operas. When her small town became the epicenter of the brutal fight between ISIS militants and US-backed Kurdish troops in 2014, she and her family were forced to flee." I finished this audiobook a few days ago just as the news was coming out about the Syrian government retaking Aleppo.  If you don't have a good understanding of the causes of the conflict in Syria or the history of the Kurds, read this book. Nujeen's family was well off.  Her siblings are all older than she is.  One is a director living in Germany.  The rest were university students or graduates.  She was unable to go to school because of her cerebral palsy.  They lived in a fifth floor apartment with no elevator so she almost never left the house.  She learned by watching TV.  She is very smart.  She taught herself English by watching Days of Our Lives. When the rebellion against Assad started, life didn't change too much for her family.  They didn't think it would because they lived in such a safe city - Aleppo.  Her sister joined in the protests at her university until the regime's response became too violent.  Eventually they moved to their other house in Manbij. They got used to the hardships.  When her brother visited from Germany, he was horrified at their living conditions and what they were now accepting as normal.  They started to make plans to leave. Her insistence that live didn't change that much for them and that no one thought that anything bad could happen in a city as safe as Aleppo was upsetting.  I kept thinking that someday we'll be telling this story about the U.S.  I had to sit this audiobook aside for a bit because it was making me really depressed.  I listened to it on the way to work one morning and was on the verge of tears all day.  I finished it by listening to it in large sections on the way to and from large family gatherings so I didn't have time to dwell as soon as I finished listening. "We will just be numbers while the tyrant is engraved in history."  Nujeen wondering why history only remembers the names of the dictators and not their victims.   The family first left for Turkey and then the children headed on to Europe.  I would love to hear this story from her sister Nasreen's perspective.  Nujeen was a teenager who had never left the house.  Nasreen was in charge of her.  It sounds like she drove poor Nasreen to distraction with her excitement about being out in the world.  Nasreen was trying to get them through hostile countries and Nujeen was bubbling over with how exciting it all was.  She did realize that there were times that Nasreen just wanted her to shut up. They went through Turkey and then took an inflatable boat illegally to Greece.  Whether or not to take her wheelchair on the boat was a major point of contention.  They made the trip on the same day as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned trying the trip from farther down the coast.  From there they moved country to country to Germany to meet their brother just as the countries in Europe were starting to close their borders to refugees. Nujeen talks about how her status as an English speaking refugee in a wheelchair led to a lot of interviews.  One of them made its way into this John Oliver piece. I enjoyed Nujeen's story because she is a very smart and very sassy teenager.  That comes through in the writing.  She's funny.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to put a human face on the humanitarian crisis.This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story

  14. 4 out of 5

    María Alcaide

    A must read

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    "I hate the word refugee more than any word in the English language. In German it is Fluchtling, which is just as harsh. What it really means is a second-class citizen with a number scrawled on your hand or printed on a wristband, who everyone wishes would somehow go away. The year 2015 was when I became a fact, a statistic, a number. Much as I like facts, we are not numbers, we are human beings and we all have stories. This is mine" What an incredibly important and eye-opening story. Born with "I hate the word refugee more than any word in the English language. In German it is Fluchtling, which is just as harsh. What it really means is a second-class citizen with a number scrawled on your hand or printed on a wristband, who everyone wishes would somehow go away. The year 2015 was when I became a fact, a statistic, a number. Much as I like facts, we are not numbers, we are human beings and we all have stories. This is mine" What an incredibly important and eye-opening story. Born with cerebral palsy, ‘The Girl From Aleppo’ chronicles the life of Nujeen Mustafa, a 16 year old Kurdish Muslim girl from Syria, and her journey all the way from war-torn Aleppo to Germany in search of refuge. This is one of those stories that everyone should read because it really looks at the true face of the Syrian refugee crisis and at the awful reality that is at the core of why people are forced to leave their homes, their lives and often their family and risk everything for a new life. It is hard not to admire Nujeen, her incredible optimism and fiercely determined outlook on life, her intelligence and wit, as well as her honest and insightful thoughts on what it is to be disabled, a minority even within her home country and a child refugee. She is curious and smart despite little access to formal education, she’s delightfully funny and charming, candid about her feelings and experiences and at her core she’s a fangirl and a dreamer with unbelievable resilience and faith. Her story is told with eloquence for her age as well as a surprising degree of self-awareness and maturity, addressing racism and discrimination and asking people to confront the deeply troubling ways in which refugees are perceived and treated. Her bond with her sister Nisreen with whom she made the journey is beautiful and touching. It is important to note that, while this novel focuses on Nujeen, without her sister to push her wheelchair and care for her along the way because of the nature of her physical disabilities, this journey would have been all but impossible, something that raises profoundly upsetting questions about what happens to the people who simply cannot travel to seek asylum in another country. I have nothing but respect for the courage and resolve displayed by both of these young women as they confronted and overcame countless obstacles and challenges and highly recommend this book to everyone. It is at times heartbreaking and difficult, but incredibly needed in a world determined to prioritise politics over human lives.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Devyn

    I received this book from Goodreads. I remember hearing about Nujeen last year from the Television. I didn't think much of the crippled refuge girl from Syria back then. Now, I'm holding her book in my hands and it changes everything. Can you imagine? Can any anyone who has been nothing but safe all their life really imagine what it is like to live in a war-zone? To have terrorists running around freely, and your own government bombing you with no intervention from other countries? To absolutely h I received this book from Goodreads. I remember hearing about Nujeen last year from the Television. I didn't think much of the crippled refuge girl from Syria back then. Now, I'm holding her book in my hands and it changes everything. Can you imagine? Can any anyone who has been nothing but safe all their life really imagine what it is like to live in a war-zone? To have terrorists running around freely, and your own government bombing you with no intervention from other countries? To absolutely have no other choice but to leave? And to leave members of your family behind in said war-zone? To have people scamming you, threatening you, and trying to stop you and send you back the entire way? And to top it all off: in a wheelchair. I can't. And I don't have too. I'm lucky enough to have been born in America. But not everyone is that lucky. Reading of Nujeen's plight inspired a kaleidoscope of emotions I'm still trying to untangle. I can't believe these things are still happening today. Sure, I've seen the news. I've seen so much of it that it doesn't faze me anymore. But reading the book did. It makes it real. It shoves everything you pretend you don't notice right in your face and rubs it in. America it still bickering over the 'refugee crisis'. Many of my family members cheer and jeer when violence and unfairness is reported against Muslims. It makes my heart hurt because people are so cruel! They don't care about anything, until it happens to them, and then they expect the help, human rights, and understanding that they never gave to anyone else! Reading Nejeen's book submerged me in stone cold realization of what it is like for the other side. Of looking up at the razor wire and armed guards with desperation, knowing you can't go back and fearing you can't go forward either. ......On a lighter note I would love to read of Nujeen's older sister, Nasrine. I want to read a book about her, too!

  17. 5 out of 5

    pi

    "Nujeen" is a memoir of a young girl in a wheelchair who scapes from the war in Syria, and starts a difficult journey in order to get a new life in Germany. The book mostly focuses on the period between 2014 and 2016, since our protagonist is forced to leave her home until she is set in Germany. This is a thought-provoking novel that talks about what it's like to live in a war-torn area, what it means being a refugee seeking for asylum, and on top of all how it feels having a disability. It's true "Nujeen" is a memoir of a young girl in a wheelchair who scapes from the war in Syria, and starts a difficult journey in order to get a new life in Germany. The book mostly focuses on the period between 2014 and 2016, since our protagonist is forced to leave her home until she is set in Germany. This is a thought-provoking novel that talks about what it's like to live in a war-torn area, what it means being a refugee seeking for asylum, and on top of all how it feels having a disability. It's true that the book deals with lots of tough issues and the story of Nujeen is a hard one, as well as the stories of the people she meets while travelling. However, it leaves room for hope and positivity, for it presents a very brave, strong-willed girl who overcomes really difficult situations and achieves her goals despite facing so many problems. All in all, this is a moving, inspiring novel that everybody should read, and I strongly recommend it to those who loved "I am Malala".

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shahna

    I'm not going to go into great detail about this book to save arguments. I believe that everyone deserves freedom and a place to call home. No one should have to stuffer in any way to have basic human needs met. If taxes have to be higher so be it. My only issue is that I wish the writing style was more mature. For two adult women it is written very child-like. Have faith in your audience, we will understand what is written. It doesn't have to be dumbed down. It's an interesting and easy read. T I'm not going to go into great detail about this book to save arguments. I believe that everyone deserves freedom and a place to call home. No one should have to stuffer in any way to have basic human needs met. If taxes have to be higher so be it. My only issue is that I wish the writing style was more mature. For two adult women it is written very child-like. Have faith in your audience, we will understand what is written. It doesn't have to be dumbed down. It's an interesting and easy read. There aren't many details so I feel the full extent of her journey is not expressed well enough. I won't say don't read it, because you should. I just wish there was more, to get the full effect of this tragedy into people's hands. It's unfortunate, but "all the gory details" is what makes people pay attentiom.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Print Teach

    Probably the most frustrating book I've read for a long time. It's nicely written, with a cheeky innocence that shines through and made me smile. But Nujeen clearly has so much more to tell than is written here, and I want to hear it. I want to know about the Syrian war, why and how they left, what happened at the funeral, what happened in the boat and on Lesbos... I want to hear Nujeen's story in full, and this book is only a prologue. ** Free copy received through GoodReads giveaways ** Probably the most frustrating book I've read for a long time. It's nicely written, with a cheeky innocence that shines through and made me smile. But Nujeen clearly has so much more to tell than is written here, and I want to hear it. I want to know about the Syrian war, why and how they left, what happened at the funeral, what happened in the boat and on Lesbos... I want to hear Nujeen's story in full, and this book is only a prologue. ** Free copy received through GoodReads giveaways **

  20. 4 out of 5

    Janine Darragh

    I learned so much about the history of what is going on in Syria through reading this memoir written by Nujeen Mustafa, a Syrian refugee with cerebral palsy. Nujeen's story is engaging, thought-provoking, informative, and inspiring. I believe young adults need books like this one-- true stories written by teens-- as examples of the potential they, too, have within themselves to survive the unmentionable and pursue their dreams. I learned so much about the history of what is going on in Syria through reading this memoir written by Nujeen Mustafa, a Syrian refugee with cerebral palsy. Nujeen's story is engaging, thought-provoking, informative, and inspiring. I believe young adults need books like this one-- true stories written by teens-- as examples of the potential they, too, have within themselves to survive the unmentionable and pursue their dreams.

  21. 5 out of 5

    laura richards

    Fantastic eye opener! Nujeen is funny and its amazing how she stayed so positive through out all the dreadful stuff she went through! This book has opened my heart more towards refugees and I hope it opens many more hearts across the world. Thank you for telling your story Nujeen. X

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    If you think you know the life of Syrian refugees, you best think again. Right-wing republicans prepare to lose some followers because the story of Nujeen Mustafa with moments that can be anything from spirit lifting to heart-wrenching is the REAL story of middle eastern refugees; war, desperation, horror, and escape.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    A wonderful story told with honesty and humour. Must read for young people to understand we have more in common with refugees than we’re prepared to admit.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diego Ceci

    It perfectly says what Nujeen had to got through while escaping from war in Syria. It's a book that everyone should read one day. It may help people who don't want refugees in their own country to understand what refugees had been through, they may change their mind. It perfectly says what Nujeen had to got through while escaping from war in Syria. It's a book that everyone should read one day. It may help people who don't want refugees in their own country to understand what refugees had been through, they may change their mind.

  25. 4 out of 5

    HY

    The book gives a face to the global emergency, as a mass migration of asylum seekers from western and south Asia, Africa and the Western Balkans continues to reach European shores.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hanna

    Important and actually very relevant at the moment.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    If music, her voice would be alegretto with a young and happy falsetto. She tells of war, fear and pain so that readers may gain wisdom from The Girl from Aleppo

  28. 5 out of 5

    Santhi

    Brief glimpse into the migrant trail through East Europe. Newfound respect for what Germany had in place for the asylum-seekers.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Booknblues

    I hadn't managed to read The Girl from Aleppo: Nujeen's Escape from War to Freedom or as it has since been renamed Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair during the month I was doing a challenge on Syria, but I am glad that I found the time to read it. Nujeen is the youngest child of a large Kudish family living in Syria. During her birth there were complications and Nujeen had problems learning to walk. Her family moved from a small Syrian village to Aleppo in I hadn't managed to read The Girl from Aleppo: Nujeen's Escape from War to Freedom or as it has since been renamed Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair during the month I was doing a challenge on Syria, but I am glad that I found the time to read it. Nujeen is the youngest child of a large Kudish family living in Syria. During her birth there were complications and Nujeen had problems learning to walk. Her family moved from a small Syrian village to Aleppo in hope of getting her more sophisticated medical care. It turned out she had Cerebral Palsy. She had several operations, to correct some problems with her feet and legs, but it became so difficult for her to walk that she eventually spent all of her time in her apartment. As a shut-in, Nujeen spent and inordinate time watching tv and her favorite tv show was Days of Our Lives which had Arabic sub-titles. In this way she eventually learned English. As things develop and degrade in Syria, Nujeen's family moves from one place to another seeking safety. Eventually a decision is made for Nujeen and an elder sister to escape to Germany. Her story is interesting and similar to others I have read about the refugee crisis. What makes it different is Nujeen herself. Nujeen shines. She travels across Europe in a wheel chair. She is unique and endearing and her voice comes through. Although she has not been able to go to school before leaving Syria, she self educated and was proud of the facts she knew. She says: "Stalin killed 6 million people in his gulags and in the Great Terror. Hitler’s regime was even more murderous – 11 million people were killed and 17 million became refugees. But it’s Stalin and Hitler I can tell you about, not any of their victims. In fifty years is it going to be the same with Assad? People will remember all about him and not the good people of Syria. We will just be numbers, me and Nasrine and Bland and all the rest, while the tyrant will be engraved in history. That is a scary thought. Nujeen tells us what it takes to be a refugee: To be a successful migrant you need to know the law. You need to be resourceful. You need a smartphone and to be on Facebook and WhatsApp. You need some money. Ideally you know a bit of English. And in my case you need a sister to push your wheelchair. If anyone wants to see a clip of her here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-2mJ... I really enjoyed this book and my journey with Nujeen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Roz

    This book was clearly written with the intent of showing the human side of the refugee crisis. No complaints there at all. I mean, why else would one want to read about refugees other than to learn about what the experience is like (the news is there for everything else). Nujeen's story covers the human experience extremely well. Besides the fact that she is a wheelchair-bound refugee, which already adds massive emotive points in her camp, she gave snippets of other people's horror stories along This book was clearly written with the intent of showing the human side of the refugee crisis. No complaints there at all. I mean, why else would one want to read about refugees other than to learn about what the experience is like (the news is there for everything else). Nujeen's story covers the human experience extremely well. Besides the fact that she is a wheelchair-bound refugee, which already adds massive emotive points in her camp, she gave snippets of other people's horror stories along the way, from drownings to women giving birth on the run. I must admit though, that the person who I REALLY feel deserves a medal is her sister who pushed her in her wheelchair to Germany (when they couldn't get other forms of transport). That young woman is super girl in my books. If you have ever pushed someone in a wheelchair for a while, especially over ground that isn't paved and tarred and perfectly level, you will know exactly what I am talking about. I could not believe how people took advantage of these refugees who had lost everything. I think that was the most shocking thing in this whole book. We are always told that human nature is positive. Pfft. Not if you are a refugee who has lost everything. You will be robbed and scammed every step of the way. How do those people live with themselves? Moving on. I think this was a brave book too. Nujeen does not pretend to be better than she is. In fact, if I were her sister, there is a good chance I would have smacked her at some point and told her to get off her high horse. Being disabled does not mean royalty. Nujeen often talks about disability perks. She shows a spoilt nature and personal flaws. It makes it real. If I had read a refugee story about some Disney princess, I would have written it off as a bunch of lies. This - I could not. If I had to be critical, I would say that the last two or three chapters don't have the same flow as the earlier chapters. They come across as very disjointed. Perhaps Nujeen and her translator were trying to put too many ideas into the last part - ideas regarding the current status of the refugees, especially with terrorist attacks going on. I'm glad I read this. I learnt a lot. I hope I never get to the point where I feel that the best answer I have is to abandon everything and head off on foot into an unknown.

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