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September 1, 2008

Refuge Cove

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Refuge Cove

Author: Lesley Choyce

Page Length: 89

Reading Level: 3.2

Genre: Realistic Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Greg and his mother have just moved to the town of Deep Cove. Greg’s father has recently passed away and Greg is embarking on a new adventure in his young life. His love for sailing takes him out to the cold waters of the North Atlantic where he encounters an Asian refugee family struggling for survival.

Greg offers to bring the refugees to his home and care for them. The family reluctantly agrees. At first, Greg hides the family’s identity from his mother, however that does not last long. Deep Cove is a community where everyone knows everyone. For example, the residents of the town feel so comfortable with each other, that they will walk into each other’s homes without even knocking!

Soon, many residents assist the refugee family by providing food and blankets. The refugee family’s fears of being caught and sent back to their own country seem to be lessened. However, one day, the Mounties arrive at Greg’s home and speak to his mother. She unsuccessfully lies to the police and they arrive a second time to take Greg’s mother in for questioning.

Upon witnessing the presence of the Canadian police, the refugee family makes an escape out onto the stormy waters. Greg chases after them, and after a climactic adventure on the sea the family is returned back to Greg’s home. In the end, the immigration service allows the family to stay on the condition that they have a support network from which to turn to. Greg and his mother as well as the Deep Cove community turn out to be just that support.

REVIEW: Students may have trouble connecting to this story initially. The Canadian setting and numerous references to boating and sailing may not hook the reader. Some front-loading on Canadian geography and boating vocabulary may be beneficial. The topic of refugees is not an easy one. However, this book would be a great supplement to such a historical study. I would recommend that this book be read and then discussed as a group or in pairs.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: simile (pages 7 & 26), vocabulary – whitecaps, tiller, dory, gunwales

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: reference to “booze” and “drugs” (page 20)

RELATED WEBSITES: (website to the city referred to in the book) (website to a Canadian city of the books title) (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) (What is a Refugee?)

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

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