Kid’s Book Review: Drawn Across Borders

Kid’s Book Review: Drawn Across Borders

About the Book and Artist

The subject matter alone makes this a special book but the collection of beautiful pen and ink artwork by the award-winning war artist George Butler make us want to send everyone a copy so they can see for themselves how extraordinary and important it is!

Nobody who has taken their time to look at this book, published by Walker Books, will dismiss the issue of migration again. Thank you George for enabling readers acquire better insight into this global issue via your visual testimony.

For thousands of years humans have moved around the world, to seek a better life, to flee disaster or to escape war. Migration is a fact of life – but it is hugely misunderstood. Drawings made on front lines, in refugee camps and on the move vividly capture stories of leaving home, travelling into the unknown and trying to make a new life. These powerful portraits of migration are a timely reminder of the humanity we all share and our universal need to seek safety and a better life.

Drawn Across Borders cover
George Butler artist

George Butler is an award winning artist and illustrator specialising in travel and current affairs. His drawings, done in situ are in pen, ink and watercolour. In August 2012 George walked from Turkey across the border into Syria, where as guest of the rebel Free Syrian Army he drew the civil war damaged, small and empty town of Azaz. Over the last ten years his desire to record scenes in ink rather than with a camera has meant he has witnessed some extraordinary moments; refugee camps in Bekaa Valley, in the oil fields in Azerbaijan, in Gaza with Oxfam, in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, in a neo-Nazi murder trial in Munich, on an oil rig in the north sea, down a Ghanian gold mine… the list goes on.

His drawings have been published by The Times (London), Monocle, New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, CNN, Der Spiegel, ARD television Germany, NPR. His work has been shown in the Imperial War Museum North and the V&A Museum which also holds some of his work in the National Archive.

In 2014, with three friends, George set up the Hands Up Foundation. The aim was to remind the people they had met in Syria that they had not been forgotten. The Hands Up Foundation supports salaries of professionals inside Syria and has to date raised £4.5million.

Book Review

I think this book will have a lasting impact on me and how I view the issue of migration

Wow!  This is a truly amazing book that has really resonated with me. I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch event for this book where the talented artist and journalist George Butler spoke with the BBC Newshour presenter Razia Iqbal. As soon as I heard George Butler talk passionately about his new book, I was instantly impressed by what this book Is about and its personal nature in explaining the issue of migration and the reasons why people all over the world leave their homes. I could not wait for the book to arrive in the post!

Having now read this book I have learnt a great deal about migration, and I have come to realise that the issue of migration is happening on a much larger scale than I realised. Through the personal stories that George Butler has talked about in his book I have learnt that migration is not just about people fleeing their homes due to war and conflict but also because of looking for work to support their families and to be educated.

His amazing artwork captures the personal journeys of the people he has sketched and painted. Through his clever use of line and colour he manages to tell the emotive stories of the people he has drawn and create empathy in the reader. My favourite drawing was of Bassam in Syria who was a ten year old boy who had lost his brother, his mother and his sister in an air strike. The powerful image shows his father at his bedside in a children’s ward at a field hospital. I felt such emotion as I looked at the image as I tried to imagine what life is like for Bassam. I have thought about him many times since I read the book.

The description of his images compliments his drawings giving further explanation of the personal journeys of the migrants. As I read each of the stories, I reflected on what life would be like to be in this situation and it made me realise just how fortunate I am to have a constant roof over my head. The fact that many of the stories were about children, also made me empathise with their stories more.

I think this book will have a lasting impact on me and how I view the issue of migration. The powerful images George Butler has created will resonate with me for a long time and have made me better understand the hardships that migrants endure.

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If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Reviewer Photo
  • Name: Jacob
  • Age: 14 years
  • Likes: sport, history and holidays
  • Dislikes: early mornings and onions
  • Favourite Book: Scythe By Neil Shusterman
  • Favourite Song: Feel Good Inc. by Gorrilaz
  • Favourite Film: Star Wars