While the factious situation in war-torn Syria is difficult even for adults to comprehend, what writer/illustrator Don Brown (America Is Under Attack) offers here is an empathic account of how everyday citizens take tortuous paths toward survival. They are The Unwanted, who, without a future in their own country, must search elsewhere for home.
Brown presents a graphic hybrid of history and facts--explained in text boxes--with scenes of personal experiences. Beyond numbing data, Brown gives faces and voices to the refugees, as he chronicles various journeys out: "We gave the babies sleeping pills so they wouldn't cry," a fleeing mother reveals. "I tried to catch my wife and children in my arms. But one by one, they drowned," a man mourns over his survival. Brown's panels can't--won't?--contain all that the Syrians must endure, as weapons, explosions, fleeing crowds, suffering victims repeatedly break through panel outlines. Yet amid the struggles, Brown won't abandon hope. In urgently humanizing The Unwanted, Brown's sobering explication and tenacious advocacy prove both necessary and revelatory