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The Ones That Disappeared cover

The Ones That Disappeared

Child trafficking is not a typical subject for a Young Adult book, but Zana Fraillon has perfectly portrayed this issue in her latest release, The Ones That Disappeared. Following her Carnegie Medal-shortlisted The Bone Sparrow, Fraillon tells the story of three children, Esra, Miran and Isa, who dream of returning home.

Esra, Miran and Isa belong to the Snakeskin gang, and have brandings on their wrist representing their lack of freedom. The children are responsible for the maintenance of marijuana plants in a home they cannot escape from. They are exposed to all kinds of cruelty, including beatings and chemical poisoning. Following an accident which destroys the marijuana plants they are accountable for, Esra, Miran and Isa flee their prison.

The Ones That Disappeared is told through the eyes of the children, enhancing the emotional and heartwrenching aspects of the story. The book not only communicates survival, but also hope and courage.

Without glamourising the issue, Fraillon has beautifully composed a necessary depiction of human trafficking, shining a light on the dangers and struggles faced by these children.