Illegal is a graphic novel by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, with a primary audience of children (probably ages ten and up), and this is the kind of book that every child should have access to.
Colfer and Donkin trace the fictional path of Ebo, a young Ghanian boy, as he makes his way to Europe in search of his siblings Kwame and Sisi. Ebo encounters sickness and peril on his journey, all written by Colfer (of Artemis Fowl fame) and Donkin (DC comics work) and illustrated by Giovanni Rigano. The illustrations are beautifully colored, with lots of wide shots to give readers an idea of what kinds of places Ebo travels through.
Colfer starts the book with an epigraph from Elie Wiesel’s “no human being is illegal” quote. What this graphic novel does, even more than a traditional novel would, is let a young (or not-so-young) reader place themselves in the shoes of an immigrant attempting to find refuge. In this particular story, the person is a young Ghanain boy seeking Italy’s shores, but the wider message is applicable to all people searching for safety.
In short, beautiful illustrations of a fictional, but realistic, story. Highly recommended.
Publication Date: August 8, 2018
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.