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Flying Over Water by Shannon Hitchcock and N. H. Senzai - 9/10

Noura's family is on their way to start a new life in America. They are refugees from Syria and, though they have left the war behind, the scars and memories still haunt them. Jordyn, a young competitive swimmer from Florida, is excited to help welcome the family of refugees. The two girls quickly become friends, and their bond proves to be important as they fight against racism in their community, and as they support each other through difficult times.


Suggested for ages 11+


Syrian refugees








Middle School

Mental health


Flying Over Water is a book that introduces kids and teens to Muslim culture and practices through an engaging story, as well as to the difficult topics of racism and mental health. With the narrative coming from Noura and Jordyn, kids will be able to relate to the story, even if they have no connection to Muslim culture. As a white person reading this, I learned a lot. Cleverly constructed and extremely engaging, this book is definitely worth a read.

PROS Deals with difficult topics

Very educational without feeling like a 'teaching moment'

Engaging plot

Violence and Scariness 1/5 Brief mention of torture and murder, mention of war experiences (watching dead girl pulled from building), girl has panic attack. Sex and Romance 1/5 Talk of miscarriage that happened before the story began.

CONS The ending was very abrupt! I wanted more!

Emotional Intensity 4/5 Racism and hate, PTSD episodes, moving to a new country, separated from family and home, miscarriage, child having to comfort grieving parents, depression, talk of friends who passed away, bullying.

Drinking and Drugs 0/5 Not present.

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