2020 Community Book: Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

Each spring, the librarians choose a community book which is then read by students and faculty in grades V and up over the summer.

Mrs. Reid and Mr. Schwartz selected Katherine Marsh’s Nowhere Boy, a thrilling tale of a Syrian orphan who finds himself in Brussels during the height of the refugee crisis.  A young American boy comes to his aid, and the two boys learn valuable lessons on moving from fear to empathy.  Katherine Marsh spoke to both students and parents last week. 

Ms. Marsh spent two mornings with the boys last week, via Zoom.  She gave a fascinating presentation on her inspiration for the book, and all that she discovered while researching the Syrian refugee experience.  An interesting parallel, which Ms. Marsh writes about in the book, is the true story of a Belgian boy hiding a Jewish neighbor in his basement during WWI.  Ms. Marsh wanted to redefine heroism and simplify it.  Ordinary boys like the ones she writes about, can become heroes by being brave enough to listen and empathize with those we don’t understand. 

The boys asked loads of questions - “Will there be a sequel?  What do you do when you have writer’s block?  How did the lockdown in Brussels compare to the COVID-19 lockdown?”  Clearly Nowhere Boy was a rewarding story to read. 

If you would like to watch Mrs. Marsh’s talk with the parents, this recording will be available until Friday, October 2.  Nowhere Boy is available in the library and on SORA.  Many thanks Mr. Bowcock, Mrs. Reid, Mr. Schwartz, and PA President Laurie B. for organizing this year’s community book discussions.  We are grateful to Katherine Marsh for her time and enthusiasm.