“When people on television talk about walls and documents, I never thought they were talking about my mom,” muses Jason Riazi, the 12-year-old narrator of Nadia Hashimi’s action-packed The Sky at Our Feet. Jason always knew his mother grew up in Iran, but he had no idea that she was an illegal immigrant until he watches immigration officials take her away.
Jason never met his father, an Afghan translator who was murdered while awaiting his American visa. Jason’s mom was already studying in America when Jason was born prematurely, but after her husband’s death, she was too frightened to apply for asylum.
After his mother disappears, Jason goes on the run, leaving his New Jersey home to seek help from his mother’s best friend in New York City. There, he meets an epileptic girl who joins him for an exciting avalanche of events and coincidences. As unbelievable as these circumstances may be, young readers will be swept up in Jason’s likable, sincere narration.
Hashimi’s unusual, riveting thriller provides a thoughtful look at the issues facing two tweens who feel like outsiders.