Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Illustrated by Giovanni Rigano
Sourcebooks / Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Ebo and his older brother, Kwame, leave Northern Africa, seeking refuge and their sister in Europe. Crossing the blazing desert by foot and rough Mediterranean seas on an inflatable boat, there is no guarantee of their survival.
The gloomy cover image of a boat crossing a choppy sea by only the light of the moon sets the tone for this graphic novel, with the title grabbing attention in bright yellow. The ripped from the headlines topic of immigrants and refugees prevails daily on televised and internet news. Ebo and Kwame are a relatable character duo and readers will empathize with their plight. Told in alternating “then” and “now” chapters, the challenges of both the desert and the sea are depicted candidly, with devastating authenticity. The illustrator uses light, setting, and facial expressions often to reinforce the atmosphere the boys are experiencing. Readers will no doubt keep turning pages quickly to find out what happens to these courageous brothers.