by Eoin Colfer

Other authorsAndrew Donkin (Author.), Giovanni Rigano (Illustrator.)
Paper Book, 2018


"Ebo is alone. His brother, Kwame, has disappeared, and Ebo knows it can only be to attempt the hazardous journey to Europe, and a better life, the same journey their sister set out on months ago. But Ebo refuses to be left behind in Ghana. He sets out after Kwame and joins him on the quest to reach Europe. Ebo's epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his family" -- provided by publisher.



Call number



Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, [2018]

User reviews

LibraryThing member eduscapes
ILLEGAL by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin is a graphic novel examining a child refugee’s struggle to survive.

Alternating between past and present, this full-color graphic novel follows the quest of a Ghanaian refugee trying to reconnect with his siblings in Europe. As the fast-paced story unfolds,
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young readers are exposed to the horrific realities of crossing hostile borders and trying to survive in unbearable conditions.

Don’t miss the backmatter that effectively connects the fictional story to the real lives of refugees.

Librarians will find this middle grade book to be an excellent addition to the library’s growing collection of books about refugees. Feature it in a display exploring immigration issues. Work with English and social studies teachers to build an interdisciplinary unit weaving in this timely title.

Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on August 7, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.
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LibraryThing member lilibrarian
The story of two brother who attempt the dangerous trip from Africa to Europe in search of a better life and the sister who went ahead of them.
LibraryThing member villemezbrown
Sick day! Chest cold and laryngitis. Time to rest, read, and review.

The European migrant crisis becomes fodder for a generic dramatized graphic novel by what looks like a bunch of European white guys. Hmm. There was an over-reliance on coincidence and having a split time-line throughout much of the
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book took away a lot of the dramatic tension of the desert sequences, as we know who makes it to the boat later in the story's chronology.

A happy ending is slapped on, but I feel the protagonist's problems would be far from over if he were a real person. I guess this is simplified for kids, focusing on the dangerous and adventurous parts of the hero's quest, but really glossing over the causes, consequences and potential progression of this sad and difficult time of upheaval for millions of people in our world.
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LibraryThing member lindamamak
Wonderful graphic novel showing the life of a young boy leaving Ghana to Itlay to start a new life.
LibraryThing member ewyatt
Ebo's story of trying to find his siblings. Chapters move from then and now, Ebo's journey to get to Tripoli. He leaves home to find his brother Kwame and the two of them are seeking to get to Europe and find their sister Sisi. The journey across the desert is treacherous and the journey across the
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Mediterranean turns deadly. A graphic novel with an afterward including a true story of a girl who made the journey.
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LibraryThing member krau0098
This graphic novel explores immegration and illegal aliens in a way that is very real and at times, heartbreaking. It was incredibly well done and I really enjoyed both the story and the illustration.

Ebo finds out his brother, Kwame, has ventured to the city to figure out a way to join their sister
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in Europe. Their sister made the trip to Europe some time ago but they haven’t heard from her. Ebo decides to set out after Kwame. What awaits Ebo is a deadly journey across the desert, dealing with traffickers who don’t care whether Ebo and his brother live or die.

This is a fascinating and heartbreaking look at what Ebo and his family go through in an effort to leave Ghana and seek a better life. The illustrations are amazing and the story is very engaging. I found it impossible to put down and ended up reading it in one sitting.

This is marketed as a middle grade book and that seems appropriate. While some of the content is brutal, it never gets too gory or graphic. There is some brief discussion about a brothel, people are killed at gun point, and many people die. However, this is a fictional portrayal of real events. I thought an excellent job was done getting across the reality and brutality of the situations Ebo goes through while still keeping the story appropriate for pre-teens.

Overall I really loved this and immediately gave it to my twelve year old son to read. We’ll see what he thinks about it. This tackles a tough and controversial issue in a way that is easy to relate to and engaging. Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member JRlibrary
Heartbreaking but very important. Really well done.
LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
This is a window onto the stark reality and desperate plight of refugees. In time shifts of then and now, Ebo learns that his brother Kwame has left the village to go to Europe. Ebo determines to find and join him. Homelessness, pursuing odd jobs, crossing the desert, and sailing in a
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less-than-seaworthy raft--as the author notes, "Ebo's journey is a work of fiction, but every separate element of it is true." Timely and revealing.
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LibraryThing member Lisa_Francine
Powerful, poignant, and bittersweet.
A stark reminder that for many immigrants the journey to their new home is an agonizing undertaking -- they are often fleeing from their home country due to war, persecution, poverty, etc.

Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC copy of this graphic novel.

Quote from Elie
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Wiesel, Nobel Laureate & Holocaust Survivor
"You, who are so-called illegal aliens, must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?"
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LibraryThing member reader1009
diverse children's middlegrade graphic novel (young refugees from various parts of Africa undertake dangerous journeys across desert and ocean to reach Europe; many die along the way and the main characters (Ebo, his older brother Kwame, and another friend they meet along the way) narrowly survive
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at least a dozen times in their journey.
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
Straightforward immigrant diary style story -- heartbreaking, detailed, beautifully done. For tweens-teens -- older -- wouldn't give it to a younger kid. Bleak, but realistic.


Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 2021)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Teen — 2020)
Iowa Teen Award (Nominee — 2021)
Garden State Teen Book Award (Nominee — 2021)
Irish Book Award (Nominee — 2017)


Original publication date



1492665827 / 9781492665823

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