Review Blog

Feb 25 2009

Dream Land: One girl's struggle to find her true home by Lily Hyde

cover image

Walker Books, 2008.
ISBN 9781406307658
(Age: 10+ ) Recommended. Dedicated to the Crimean Tatars, this fascinating piece of little known history is an amazing struggle of one family's return to their home after fifty years in exile by Joseph Stalin during WW2. They were resettled in Central Asia and Siberia. After perestroika, the laws were relaxed and many Tatars returned to Crimea to reclaim their land and build again. This is the heart rendering struggle of Safinar's family. Along with Grandfather, her mother and brother Lutfi, Safinar has come back to Crimea where her father had earlier returned hoping to have a home ready for them. But the struggle to build on their former land is fraught with difficulties both from the local bureaucracy and the Russians who now live there.
While Safi's grandfather tells the treasured stories of their heritage, the reader learns of the present struggle to rebuild not only their homes but also their lives, in a land they now share with others. Safi is an engaging, curious child who like the characters in Parvana, Secrets in the Fire and The heaven shop, shows an amazing resilience in harsh and challenging times. The glossary is a useful addition.
Unlikely to be read from the shelf, the book depicts cultural diversity in a very readable, warm and enlightening way. It needs teacher and teacher-librarian promotion.
Sue Nosworthy

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