No Ballet Shoes in Syria


Aya is drawn to ballet music playing at the Manchester Welcome Centre. It reminds her of lessons with Madame Belova in Aleppo, before the war. Yet loss, trauma  and responsibility overwhelm her. How can a Syrian refugee hope to reprise a pastime she loved, at which she thrived? Too much time has passed. The ballet dancer of old is now an older sister, responsible for her baby brother, her mother’s wellbeing and the family’s future.

Could the welcome of new friends and the compassion of experience offer Aya a chance? Her body remembers the movements, while her head and heart recall her city, and the life from which she was torn.

‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria‘ is an uplifting and relevant story. Catherine Bruton ensures readers feel Aya’s uncertainty, grief and longing. I recommend this book without hesitation to readers seeking a meaningful, memorable story.


No Ballet Shoes in Syria

Catherine Bruton

(Nosy Crow)

Aya promised Dad she would look after Mumma and Masood.
Aya hears music from with the Manchester Welcome Centre that makes her body tingle and remember. Madame Belova, Samia, Rami, Nadiya, Nooda, school and Aleppo and Dad. Everything within Aya draws her to dance.
Can a Syrian refugee, with nothing to her name except memories and love and a raw dancing talent hope to dance again? There are ‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria‘.


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