With the up coming release of our new high-low series, Promises, we have been chatting to Miriam Halahmy, the author of Yasmin’s Journey. Yasmin’s Journey is a new title from the series and follows the life of a fifteen-year-old Syrian girl as she attempts to smuggle herself and her younger brother Ali to safety. Yasmin must grow up quickly and, with romantic undertones, this text helps her do so. It is emotive and echoes current social issues regarding immigration, ensuring it is a fresh and up to date piece of fiction.
This wasn’t enough for me though! I wanted to get an insider view from Miriam herself, and here’s what she had to say:
1. What made you write this title?
Jenny Ertle asked me to write a book about a girl escaping the war in Syria. I decided that my girl would be fifteen and that her parents would not accompany her and her little brother on the journey. Suddenly Yasmin has to be the grown up and make decisions in unimaginable situations.
2. Was your inspiration taken from real life or research?
I have read a lot of asylum seeker stories and have worked with many asylum seekers helping them to record their experiences. I was already following the news closely about the Syrian refugees and their journeys to safety. This helped me find the inspiration for the story. I then read stories on line and in the newspapers and also made notes when watching the news in order to make the details as real as possible.
3. Who is your favourite character in the book?
I really like Kamal partly because he befriends Yasmin and Ali and helps them to find their way around the refugee camp but also because he is all alone in the world and Yasmin in turn helps him to escape from the camp and continue his journey. Kamal is also very respectful towards Yasmin even though it is clear they have growing feelings for each other.
The series contains ten titles and is aimed at girls of 13 plus. With a reading age of 6 – 8, however, the series caters for struggling or reluctant readers who are looking to improve their literacy skills. The texts are all current, discussing issues such as culture, social media, school and relationships, and they all contain age appropriate content, ensuring young readers don’t feel patronised or embarrassed. It is a great new series and one I would recommend highly, perfect for schools, libraries, and any young adult looking for an exciting, easy-read fix.
So, all that’s left to say is ‘thank you Miriam’ and I hope all of you lovely readers enjoyed this insider insight as much as I did!
Yasmin’s Journey is available for £5.99 and has an ISBN of 978175912566.
The Promises Library Pack, containing all ten reading books, is available for £54.99 and has an ISBN of 9781785912504.