In the book “Refugee” by Alan Gratz

In the book “Refugee” by Alan Gratz, 3 families are struggling to find peace in their native countries. In Nazi Germany a Jewish family is being sent into concentration camps. In Cuba a family is suffering from dangerous riots, and in Syria families are suffering from violence and destruction. Every family is looking for a better life however it is not a walk in the park to get there. Along the way there are many disappointments and challenges that takes every single person in the family to step up, mature and fight to survive. However, with the stress, torture and horrors the parents are given it is the children's turn mature and make decisions that could ultimately decide their future. Sometimes the situation that make you feel like you want to give up bring out the best in you.

Josef and his family are on the cruise heading to a far away land that supports their beliefs and there way of living. Getting on the cruise was easy but staying on is the hardest part and somehow Josef was left to be the man in the house. Josef’s father was petrified that he would have to be sent back to a concentration camp and was not prepared to take care of the family. Josef's mother tried to help her husband but instead was forced into taking sleeping medicine making her no help out so ever. As his family was falling apart “ If anyone knew his father was unwell, he’d be barred from entering Cuba. But Josef had to go get Ruthie at some point, and make sure she got in and was put to bed. Suddenly, Josef was the man of the family -the only adult in the family- whether he wanted to be or not.” (167) Josef has taken the role of the family that is not usually expected by a 10-year-old boy. However, through his steps of making sure his family survive he learns how to be an adult, he learns leadership skills and most importantly he learns that if he is really passionate about anything, (in this example it is escaping home) he can complete it.

Another details that explains way tough situations may be the ones that you learn from the most is when Isabel and her family are trying to escape Cuba. The neighbors have been working on a boat for months now, when they finished all they needed as the fuel. In order for Isabel and her family to hitch a ride they were responsible in getting the fuel. So Isabel sacrificed her belongings in order to save her family. “She ran home again. Her father and grandfather were still arguing in the kitchen, so she slipped in the back way. She grabbed her trumpet, gave it one long, sad look, and ran out the back door. She was already in the street when she stopped, ran to her backyard, and snatched up the little mewling kitten too. With the trumpet in one arm and the kitten in the other, she ran the few blocks to the beach, where she hanged on the door of a fisherman her grandfather knew. His gas-powered fishing boat rocked gently at a little pier nearby.” (46) Isabel loves her trumpet, she plays every day in the streets with her grandpa, However, Isabel knows that in order to be safe with her family she needs to step up and make a decision. From this Isabel can go on a live a safe, happy life where she knows that even though you may love something you sometimes need to let it go. In the short term it may feel hard but in the long run it is the best thing to do.

Another detail in Refugee that teaches us that sometimes things are hard but in the end they will lead you to a positive is when Mahmoud’s family has been split apart after falling off a tiny raft trying to get them as far away from Syria as possible. Floating in the sea Mahmoud had to make a decision and decided to give away his baby sister trying to save at least once member of their family. When Mahmoud reunites with his parents he feels awful about separating his sister from his loving family but realizes that he has made the right decision. After everyone is safe in Greece, Mahmoud's father tells Mahmoud “Hana’s not with us, but she’s alive. I know it,” his father told him. “Because of you, my son”(194) Mahmoud realized that in order to keep his mom, his sister and himself alive he had to make a decision. His mom was not capable of making the decision, so he had to step up and make a decision that may seemed like the worst decision at the moment but in the end he and his father realized that his decision and it is the best thing he could have done.

In conclusion the book “Refugee” by Alan Gratz fist gives off the impression that the challenges that these 3 families are facing are to serious for them to be facing alone, especially with parents that are no use them or are not mentally stable to make decision or car for their kids. However, then the kids make decisions that are first are tough but in the end prove to them that they are capable to do anything. Even the toughest decision have something good on the other side of the rode and will teach you things that you didn't even know about yourself.