World in Between: Based on a True Refugee Story
World in Between: Based on a True Refugee Story by Kenan Trebincevic, and Susan Shapiro, Faculty, Creative Writing The New School
HMH Books, July, 2021
Chronicling his memories of a childhood marked by war and instabilities, Trebinčević’s fictionalized account of his youth in Bosnia is, in some ways, the story of any young teen. He (Kenan, in the narrative) loves fudbal (soccer) and wants to show off his best moves to his friends. He enjoys drawing, is teased for his buckteeth, puts up with the class bully, and is sweet on a certain girl. But soon his homeland is ripped apart by war. Trapped for months with his family in their home within a battle zone, losing their possessions and community status because they are Muslim, Kenan and his family are finally able to escape to relatives in Austria before enduring the process of coming to America. Their refugee experience has ups and downs and is slow-going as they strive to build a new life. Sharing a time and experience that has little exposure for most younger readers, Kenan’s emotions and actions bring to life the common threads of growing up and discovering new favorite things. A photo of Trebinčević as a youth and his afterword add context to this balanced, fictionalized memoir. Highly recommended for its emotional and historical perspectives, this is an insightful starting point for understanding one family’s refugee experience, as well as the complexities of the Bosnian War. — Beth Rosania
Co-written by Susan Shapiro, faculty in Creative Writing at The New School and a New York Times best-selling author. This moving story of a Muslim boy’s exile from war-torn Bosnia to the United States offers a riveting refugee saga.