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No Safe Place

Written by Deborah Ellis

  • 208 Pages
  • 9780888999733
  • 7" x 5"


Publication Date September 01, 2010

Finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

Orphaned and plagued with the grief of losing everyone he loves, fifteen-year-old Abdul has made a long, fraught journey from his war-torn home in Baghdad, only to end up in The Jungle -- the squalid, makeshift migrant community in Calais.

When an altercation at the soup kitchen ends up with him accidently stabbing a policeman, Abdul has to flee, and in desperation he takes a spot in a small boat heading to England. A sudden skirmish leaves the boat stalled in the middle of the Channel, the pilot dead, and four young people remaining -- Abdul; Rosalia, a Romani girl who has escaped from the white slave trade; Cheslav, gone AWOL from a Russian military school; and Jonah, the boat pilot's ten-year-old nephew.

The four of them end up hijacking a yacht and, despite their fear and mistrust, they form a kind of makeshift family. And as the authorities close in on them, they find refuge in an unusual place -- a child's secret cave on the English coast.

Short-listed for the SYRCA Snow Willow Award 2011

Selected for the OLA Best Bets 2010

Selected for the Resource Links' Year's Best 2010

Selected for the CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2011

Short-listed for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award 2011


Deborah Ellis
Deborah Ellis is best known for her Breadwinner series, which has been published in twenty-five languages and has earned more than $1 million in royalties to benefit Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International. She has won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, the Governor General’s Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She has received the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement, and she has been named to the Order of Canada.


Star Review

"Ellis' young readers love her because she speaks to them as intelligent, empathetic beings who will soon have agency in the world, and in 'No Safe Place', this gift is still powerfully evident." Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"This novel moves fast and furiously...exciting and moving." School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"What the best literature for young readers can be-simple, elegant language crafted to tell a story as full and rich as life itself. Eminently memorable." Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"Flashbacks to each character's personal story are interwoven with the present-tense violence, prejudice, kindness, and community that the young characters find on their journey." Booklist

"Flashbacks involving the effects of war and poverty on communities and families drive this fast-paced and heart-wrenching narrative, which deals honestly with countless harsh realities." Publishers Weekly Online