“Two historical novels about young people fleeing totalitarian regimes focus on escapes made by water rather than land. Each is a riveting, insightful page-turner; taken together, these are complementary reads that shed light on events that have echoes in our present and offer thoughtful perspectives for understanding contemporary refugees and migrants. Originally published in Australia in 2016, Freedom Swimmer by Kirkus Prize finalist Wai Chim (Scholastic, Nov. 2) is based on the experience of the author’s father as a young person who fled communist China for Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution. In Beyond the Blue Border by Dorit Linke, translated by Elisabeth Lauffer (Charlesbridge Teen, Sept. 7), two young East Germans in late-1980s Rostock, the author’s hometown, attempt a hazardous swim through the Baltic Sea to reach the West.”
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