Review of 'No Ballet Shoes In Syria' by Catherine Bruton

Review of 'No Ballet Shoes In Syria' by Catherine Bruton. Aya is a 10-year-old refugee from Syria whose talent for dancing is spotted by a local ballet teacher who believes she can earn a scholarship at the prestigious Royal Northern Ballet School. As the ballet lessons progress for Aya we learn of her family's fight to remain in the country and gradually we learn why Aya's father isn't with them and the truth of their journey to England.

Catherine Bruton said of her book “I wanted to tell the story of a young Syrian asylum seeker: her life before and during the war in Aleppo, her flight from her war-torn country and struggle to make a new life in the UK,”

“I hope it's a story that will make young readers think about words like 'refugee' and 'asylum seeker' differently - to see the child behind the label, as  a child with hopes and dreams just like they have. Ultimately I hope it is a story of heartbreak - but also of hope.”

I found this book incredibly moving- it has such an important message championing the rights of refugees. It will have obvious appeal to young dancers- and the dance passages are beautifully crafted, but this book is more than just a book about ballet and has been so brilliantly structured that it feels as if we are reading a testament to the courage and indefatigable human spirit that refugees need to overcome so many hurdles.

"Wise and kind and unputdownable." - Hilary McKay, Costa Book Prize-winning author of The Skylarks' War "A perfect balance of tragedy and triumph." - Natasha Farrant, author of The Children of Castle Rock "A moving story about one of the big issues of our time, told with wonderful clarity, and incredibly touching." - Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo "A moving, textured story ... Ballet Shoes for the 21st century" - The Times