Alpha: Abidjan to Paris

(Author) (Illustrator)
& 1 more

Product Details

$24.99  $22.99
Bellevue Literary Press
Publish Date
7.7 X 0.6 X 10.3 inches | 1.4 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Bessora is an award-winning author of Swiss, German, French, Polish, and Gabonese heritage whose work has been anthologized in Best European Fiction and has received the F茅n茅on Prize and Grand Prix Litt茅raire d'Afrique Noire. Raised in Europe, America, and Africa, she has traveled extensively and her fiction is underpinned by extensive research and her training as an anthropologist. Alpha, forthcoming from Bellevue Literary Press, is her first graphic novel. She lives in Paris.

Barroux was born in Paris and spent much of his childhood in North Africa. After studying photography, art, sculpture, and architecture, he worked as an art director in Paris and Montreal before beginning his career as an illustrator. His work includes the children's book Where's the Elephant?, longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, the graphic novel Line of Fire, based on the diary of an unknown soldier from the First World War, and the graphic novel Alpha, forthcoming from Bellevue Literary Press. His illustrations have also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Forbes. He lives in Paris.

Sarah Ardizzone is an award-winning translator from the French. She is the translator of the graphic novel Alpha, forthcoming from Bellevue Literary Press, and over forty other titles including The Little Prince Graphic Novel, a New York Times Notable Book. Ardizzone has twice won the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation. She also curates educational programs, including Translation Nation, Translators in Schools, and the Spectacular Translation Machine. She lives in London.


Doctors Without Borders Prize
PEN Promotes Award
GLLI (Global Literature in Libraries Initiative) Translated YA Book Prize Shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Longlist
Library Journal "Best Book of the Year" & "Must-Have Graphic Novel for Black History Month and Beyond" selection
School Library Journal "Best Adult Book 4 Teens" selection
Comics Journal "Best Comic of the Year" selection
Publishers Weekly "Hot Topic" selection
Book Riot "Must-Read Comics about Brave People Who Aren't Superheroes" selection

"Groundbreaking. . . . Stunning text." --Guardian

"Bessora's prose and Barroux's illustrations join to illuminate the heart-wrenching journey of a West African refugee. . . . The reader is drawn into the refugee's experience and shares his agonizing odyssey via the graphic novel's blunt yet poetic language." --World Literature Today

"The international refugee crisis is given a singular expression in this affecting work." --PEN America

"Alpha is the story of everyone who bravely risks all they know for the hope of a better future. . . . Honest and direct rather than inspiring and romantic, Alpha gives a name and face to the multitudes in refugee camps all over the world. An important story for all of us to know." --New York Journal of Books

"The text is blunt, matter of fact, but also painfully deep and poetic. . . . [The illustrations] effortlessly complement the text. . . . The washes of greys and blacks stain the page much like tears. This powerful book is an important one. It needs to be in the hands of every citizen of the world, so they can, for a moment, peer into the plight of others and, perhaps, reshape how refugees are viewed." --Literature, Arts and Medicine Database

"To those who say that 'illegal' migrants are line-jumpers, [Alpha] . . . is a vivid retort." --The Common

"Intimately told. . . . Masterfully composed. While immigration may be a contentious political issue, Alpha reminds us of the people behind the headlines: those who inhabit the smugglers' compartments in rickety trucks, pay for fake passports, and trust their lives to boats that are barely seaworthy, all in search of a better future for themselves and their families." --Foreword Reviews

"As political debates and news reports on immigration proliferate, rare is empathetic reportage of the actual experiences and desperation these migrants face. . . . Alpha is that compassionate link. . . . 'You can't wash away the dust, ' Bessora writes. 'It's not just in the streets--the dust has settled in people's hearts.' Alpha: Abidjan to Paris draws a refugee with empathy and compassion, in an effort to lift the dust in people's hearts." --Shelf Awareness for Readers

"A compelling tale. . . . Heartbreaking and timely." --Kirkus Reviews

"The plight of the refugee is brought to brutally vivid life in this visual diary. . . . By homing in on the experience of one symbolic individual, Alpha humanizes the too-often faceless tragedy." --Booklist

"Lays forth the many forms of devastation suffered by lives adrift while introducing memorable characters." --Library Journal

"A migrant's harrowing journey to follow his wife and son to Paris from C么te d'Ivoire unfolds in an illustrated narrative that . . . movingly depicts Alpha's challenging passage." --Publishers Weekly

"[Alpha] breaks from the traditional dynamic graphic novel format of panels and speech bubbles. Rather, Bessora's expressive words serve as captions to the half-page illustrations. . . . Subtle elements of collage are incorporated; small photographs, often of young children, peek into the fore- or background of certain scenes. . . . This stark, poetic story personalizes immigration. For all libraries." --School Library Journal (starred review)

"[A] unique work in comics. . . . The fate of the immigrant is in crisis across the globe, including in the United States of America. Books like Alpha help to educate the public and help to build toward a safer and more merciful world." --Comics Grinder

"[Alpha's] tale of smugglers, fake passports, wasted bribes, and desperate migration is happening today. . . . Great graphic novels, like great novels, can spread the gift of empathy." --Illustration Concentration

"A powerful graphic novel that is also suitable for young adults. . . . [Alpha's] first-person account of his 'adventures' devolves into a living nightmare as the journey drags on with a constantly changing group of companions. The prose is simple, and the story is told without embellishment. . . . The illustrations set a mood of haste and simplicity, appearing to be marker sketches--almost as if they could have been made on the journey. . . . It will be difficult to look upon the plight of any refugees without reflecting on Alpha's journey." --Shelf-employed

"Takes us to the human soul of the migrant crisis and the exploitation they face." --Daily Record

"Moving." --L'humanit茅

"It's impossible to come away unscathed from this beautiful and urgent graphic novel." --Notes Bibliographiques

"A searing tale of our time. . . . Once you read this deeply troubling book, passing by, looking away, is no longer an option." --Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse and An Eagle in the Snow

"The emotion of Barroux's simple art and layouts pulled me along on Alpha's journey. This book stands out, along with Don Brown's The Unwanted, from other graphic novels about the current refugee crisis." --Gene Ambaum, co-creator of Unshelved and the Library Comic

"Amnesty International UK endorses Alpha because it provides insight into the realities of migration and the desperate search for a better life." --Nicky Parker, Publisher of Amnesty International UK