Josef sat there, his mind churning over and over. Maybe this man was his uncle, maybe he wasn’t, but this could never be his land – or his home. He closed his eyes. His insides ached and he wanted to curl up in a ball. At the back of his mind he could hear Sasich saying, ‘Our village is kaput … gone … zapped.’
When Josef’s parents are killed in the Balkans conflict, he must flee with the women and children across the border. After months in a refugee camp, he is sent to Australia to live with an uncle he didn’t know about.
In Perth Josef must adapt to life with a new family, a new language and a countryside that is alien to him. He thinks he will never fit in here –and he isn’t sure he wants to.
No More Borders for Josef is one boy’s story of survival as he faces issues which most Australian teens will never have to deal with – war, loss of his parents and becoming a refugee. Yet in spite of its difficult subject matter, it is accessible to teens because of the familiarity of the setting and scenarios – school days, school camps, family life and so on. Teen readers will also relate to Josef’s quest for identity and difficulties in fitting in.
An outstanding read for children aged 10 to 14.
No More Borders for Josef, by Diana Chase
Fremantle Arst Centre Press, 2006