TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome A.M. Dassu

A.M. Dassu on Boy, Everywhere

In this post, we feature author A.M. Dassu. You can hear her speak about her debut novel, Boy, Everywhere, and try her “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

A.M. Dassu and the cover of Boy, Everywhere

Boy, Everywhere

  • Written by A.M. Dassu
  • Published by Lee & Low Books
  • Release date: April 20, 2021

Sami loves his life in Damascus, Syria, playing video games with his best friend and playing soccer. But after a bombing in a nearby shopping mall, Sami’s parents, knowing that the violence will escalate, decide that they must leave the country.

Boy, Everywhere chronicles their harrowing journey across the Middle East to Turkey and finally to England, where they are separated and detained in an immigration prison for the “crime” of seeking asylum. Yet the transition from refugee to immigrant in a new life will be the greatest challenge Sami has ever faced. Based on the experiences of real Syrian refugees, Sami’s story is one of survival, of family and friendship, of bravery and longing. This debut novel shows that Sami could be any one of us.

From Boy, Everywhere, by A.M. Dassu

It all started going wrong during English.

Read a longer excerpt from Boy, Everywhere, by A.M. Dassu.

Explore Boy, Everywhere

Listen to A.M. Dassu talking with TeachingBooks about creating Boy, Everywhere. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.

Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by A.M. Dassu.

Imagination Activity with A.M. Dassu

I’d like you to imagine that like Sami in Boy, Everywhere, you’ve been told that you have a few hours before you leave your house and your country because it’s not safe anymore. What would you take with you? Your mum says you can’t take a lot, no suitcases, no big bags. What would you grab before you leave? Just write down five things.  If you’re in school, share them with your class and discuss the difficulties of having to leave home in such a rush.

Finish This Sentence . . . with A.M. Dassu

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy A.M. Dassu’s response.

“Where I work is…”

The way I used to work was a little odd because our computer used to be is on the kitchen island where I wrote and edited my first full novel standing up! Then I started sharing the desk in my children’s play area, and they’d play around me noisily. Thankfully, we have moved, and now my desk is in the front room. I have written some scenes in draft on my phone, but I have to edit on my desktop and in silence. I actually wrote a whole chapter on my phone yesterday while in the car!

“My favorite books as a child were…”

Whenever I’m asked what my favorite book as a child was, I can only ever remember the picture book Where’s Spot? I really loved it and read it till I was way too old for it. I even had a Spot the dog soft toy!  Then, as I got older, I loved Funny Bones and The Jolly Postman. Then there’s a huge gap in which I can’t recall any books I read until I got to secondary school, where one of my favorites was Brave New World. But recently I went through a bunch of boxes, and I found a diary in which I’d started (and not finished) a list of my favorite books. Judging by my writing, I was probably aged eight, and apparently I loved The Worst Kids in the World and Charlotte Cheetham. So my advice to you is scribble these things down! They might help you remember what you were like as a child when you get older!

“I hope that my book may encourage readers to think about…”

I hope that my book encourages readers to realize that no one sets out to become a refugee. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we have many similarities; we all have similar hopes and fears. We mustn’t focus on our differences, but instead focus on what we have in common. I hope Sami’s story will bring us together and hopefully help build a kinder society.

Thank you!

To wrap up this Virtual Book Tour, we thank A.M. Dassu for signing a book for all of us.

The title page of Boy, Everywhere, signed by the author, A.M. Dassu, with the message, "With love and hope."

More Connections to A.M. Dassu and Boy, Everywhere

Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

All text and images are courtesy of A.M. Dassu and Lee & Low Books and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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