Spanning across three eras of civil unrest and war, this timely middle-grade thriller is about three families fleeing violence in their home countries. I would love to see Refugee as required reading for all ages. Three central characters: Josef, from 1940s Germany; Isabel, from 1990s Cuba; and Mahmoud, from present day Syria, are at once courageous and fearful and so very human. Gratz captured the true-to-life violence these families went through with painstaking research. Refugee is, simply put, captivating and necessary.