Aya, her mum and baby brother Moosa have recently arrived in Manchester having fled the bombs of Aleppo, and having been separated from Aya’s father during the long, dangerous journey.
Now Aya has to take charge, acting as translator and carer for her mother, and as a second mother to Moosa. But one day as Aya and her family sit waiting to see their caseworker, Aya discovers a ballet class in the room upstairs, a find which changes the course of her life in England.
No Ballet Shoes in Syria is sensitively written, moving and heartwarming, and a reminder of the power of kindness in its many forms. The characters are various and vivid, and the flashbacks contrast the privations and hopes of asylum seekers in a bewildering new city with the sun and scents of their lost homelands.
Catherine Bruton writes for children and young adults and her book We Can be Heroes has been made into a film of the same name.