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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Reader's Diary #1908- Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin (writers), Giovanni Rigano (artist): Illegal

One of the acknowledgements at the end of Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin's graphic novel Illegal is to those who talked to the authors "about their experiences but who wished to remain anonymous." I was glad to see this note, even if I wished it had been at the front of the book and perhaps with a little more insight into the process. Without this info ahead of time, I admit being on guard that the story of a Ghanaian refugee's journey to Europe maybe shouldn't be told from a couple of white guys with a white illustrator. Sure the subject was important and topical and sure I felt emotion why reading it, but I wondered someone from Ghana would consider it accurate and sensitive and focused on the right details.

The story revolves around a boy named Ebo whose range of expressions do a remarkable job of capturing his fear, his bravery, and his love. This connection is especially important as, once he succeeds in his journey to Europe, his humanity will be called into question (as the title implies).

Illegal is aimed at younger readers but makes a lot of use of flashbacks that I wonder wouldn't be confusing for them. Perhaps I'm not giving younger readers enough credit. As an older reader, I think I would have liked more backstory at the beginning and more follow-up on the end, but all in all, I was pleased.

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