Book pages The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free

The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free


Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017. Perfect for fans of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS. This is a beautiful, vivid and deeply moving story about a refugee boy who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre. This novel reminds us all of the importance of freedom, hope, and the power of a story to speak for anyone who's ever struggled to find a safe home. '...a special book' - Morris Gleitzman, author of the acclaimed ONCE series Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he's at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie. Carrying a notebook that she's unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck - both talismans of her family's past and the mother she's lost - Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence. As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie's family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
Format: Paperback
Published: 12th January 2017
Number of Pages: 240

ISBN-13: 9781510101555

Age Ranking
  1. #22 of 806 books for 11 year olds
  2. #39 of 1261 books for 10 year olds
  3. #72 of 1624 books for 9 year olds
  4. #74 of 142 books for 13 year olds
  5. #237 of 428 books for 12 year olds
14 Book reviews
12th February '17
MunchkinMegan read it aged 9
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
I'm currently reading this book with my Mum in Literacy (i'm Home Educated), we're taking our time with it and dissecting it to see what imagery is conjured up, how the book makes me feel and referring it back to my newspaper articles on refugees.

So far i am enjoying it, i've had to get used to the writing style as it's obviously a bit different to other books i have read, it's a truly beautiful book so far and the use of language, how the story is brought to life i truly stunning! I can feel already that this book will probably leave me heartbroken but i can't stop reading.
5th March '17
Wolflover37 read it aged 11
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
This is a truly lovely read. The story follows a young boy Subhi. He has lived his whole life in a refugee camp.  He has never been into the outside world. The author really brings to life what it must have been like. The story is so heartwarming especially how Subhi strikes up a friendship with a child on the other side of the fence. The book made me cry and really made me feel sympathy  for the refugees. A must read book for the older child.
27th February '17
I read it (an adult)
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
A Dark And Realistic Story With A Glimmer of Hope, Yet It Can Make You Cry. 
31st January '18
I read it (an adult)
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
Sometimes, the sea outside turns into a beautiful ocean. As red as the sun and as deep as the sky.

An incredible story of friendship, family, and ultimately hope, from two sides of a razor wire fence. Already a modern classic, the Bone Sparrow is one of the best books of it's kind. An amazing story of how, even when things are as bad as can be, the seeds of hope and friendship can be born. Subhi knows noting other then the world inside the detention centre. Nothing but the sharp lash of the guards and the hot, sandy, over cramped camp into which he was born. Jimmy is from the outside. But sometimes, it is our differences that make us the same. Amazing.

Recommended to anyone who likes a brilliant book.
1st September '17
I read it (an adult)
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
A detention centre in Australia is the setting for this story which, though fictional, reflects the all too real experience of many asylum seekers today.  And that's the author's point.  Suhbi could be an actual young boy from Burma.  Jimmie could be an actual young girl from Australia.  It's not unheard of for people on the Outside to form friendships across the fences and to feel compelled to help.  And how often do those on the inside try to get their story - of deprivation and abuse, intolerance and being forgotten - heard, photographed, noticed? 

While this book makes gripping reading and is, at times, both funny and lyrical, it doesn't have a particularly happy ending.  Suhbi's mum does revive and Jimmie does recover, thanks to Suhbi's intervention, but justice comes too late to save Suhbi's almost brother Eli and we are not to know if Suhbi's taste of freedom is ever more than a temporary one.  We're left in limbo, much like those detainees whom the world would rather forget. 

Not surprisingly, this book is endorsed by Amnesty International.  And, because of its subject matter, I'd say it was only really suitable for older primary school children.
3rd February '17
I read it (an adult) & to Book Club aged 9 to 11
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
The Bone Sparrow

A deeply moving story of life in an Australian detention facility for refugees and asylum seekers, where hope comes from powerful imagination and stories.

Subhi has never stepped foot Outside. He was born in the detention centre. It's red dust, gritty food, family tent and fences are the only life he has ever known. His days are spent as a runner with Eli, his best friend, looking after his Maá, and annoying his sister, Queenie. His nights are spent waiting for the Night Sea to come and bring him treasures from his Ba, who will join them soon.

Jimmie lives at the top of the hill, with her Dad and brother. Unable to read, she longs for someone to tell her mother’s stories again, as she rubs the bone sparrow charm at her neck. She heard that the trucks rolling into the Centre take the children there bikes. All she wants is a new bike; the last one her Mum bought is too small.

One night, with the bone sparrow for luck, curiosity beats Jimmie and she goes to see what the Centre is really like. She finds the weak links and she's in. 

Subhi hears the Night Sea calling and is outside his tent. This time the treasure appears to be a girl, one that definitely doesn't belong in the centre.

The two strike up a friendship, based on Subhi’s ability to read Jimmie’s mums book of stories. But can they save each other?

A devastatingly beautiful, enlightening heart wrenching tale of the invisible and ignored people in our world today.

Great for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Looking at the Stars and Welcome to Nowhere.
4th February '17
I read it to Syd1 aged 9
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
This is a hauntingly beautiful tale of freindship and hope shining through in the most difficult of circumstance.

Shubi was born in a refugee detention centre and Jimmie is a lonely girl on the outside of the fence and the two build a solid freindship which will test them both.

This book will stay with you long after you turn the last page as it is so poignant given the current situation across the world. We would highly recommend this book.
2nd March '17
Rodborough Readers read it aged 11 to 15
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
I think the Bone Sparrow is an interesting and different book. I have not come across many other books covering the same topic and I think it was interesting to experience the theme. Subhi, a refugee in a detention centre is 10 and the main character who narrates most of the story. Another story of Jimmie, a girl outside the fences is written in the third person.

Jimmie manages to find a way through the fences to Subhi and they read books together in the dead of night. Jimmie cannot read them by herself, although she is improving every day and seeks salvation in the family stories her mother's notebook holds. Subhi has a wide imagination with night seas, presents bought by his father and talking ducks. Despite their differences Subhi and Jimmie get on well and help each other's imaginations to grow.

However, when Subhi's 'inside' friend Eli gets taken to a different area of camp for no reason things start to take a difficult turn. Everything Subhi once knew and loved is turned upside down and life will never be the same again.

This book is suitable for everyone from the age of 11/12 upward. I do not think some people would like this book as it is a bit violent. I think this style of genre would appeal to mystery lovers, truth seekers and adventurous people.

The refugee story told in The Bone Sparrow is heart wrenching and only the bravest can read through to the end. It follows true facts and really brings the truth to light. I wish more books were written like this and perhaps a series following up the Bone Sparrow wouldn't go amiss....
23rd February '17
Tommyg read it aged 9
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
A very moving story about two people who have very different lives end up having a unlikely friendship.

even though the story is not real, I have read about the refugees on the news and sort of can relate to the book more, it makes me sad that people really are living like this today I ended up asking my mum a trillion questions as it made me think a lot about how unlucky some people are.
10th February '17
Rosie2336 read it aged 11
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
This is a beautiful book. I like the way the bird in the corner of the pages is flying when you flick through the book.

It's about a boy called Subhi, who has spent his entire life living in an Australian detention centre for refugees. He makes friends with a girl called Jimmie who lives on the other side of the fence with her dad and brother. She is a lonely girl and finds a way into the detention centre through a hole in the fence. Subhi and Jimmie become very good friends. This book is about family, friendship and hope.

I would highly recommend this book for children over 10 years old and even a good read for adults. My mum read this book after I did and she said it was very moving.

Reading this book has made me realise how lucky I am to live the life I do!
9th July '17
Elliemai read it aged 10
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
this book is fantastically written.
i have seen lots about refugees on the news and this book really made me think what it must be like for them to have to leave everything behind and all the uncertainty that they must have
16th April '18
I read it (an adult)
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
Omg. I have just finished this moving book by Zana Fraillon & I want to cry forever . It was so full of sadness, scared & hurt but also full of love, family & friendship I will remember this book for a VERY long time.
19th February '17
Lydib read it aged 10
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
This is a lovely story of a friendship that happens between Subhi and Jimmie, one lives in a centre for refugees and the other lives outside of the centre, they have an unlikely but beautiful friendship. This is a really thought provoking book, its very moving and made me think about a lot of things i have seen on the news recently. I would recommend this book to others.
6th February '17
Ellanor read it aged 10
The Bone Sparrow: Hope can set you free 9781510101555
5 stars
Amazing story that's makes you reflect on life and friendship 
I watched The Boy In Stripped Pajamas and read this book because it was recommended to me 
It's a story about friendship and what is important in life and true friends 
I recommend everyone over 10 years old reads this book 
This is definitely a story that I will remember forever 
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