“There are two words that are banned in TIbet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them. ‘Dalai Lama.’”
And so the adventure begins, immediately opening our eyes as we realise that this is here and now for people in our world. Tash lives in Tibet with her family, she attends school, she likes running, sliding down slopes, she has a best friend, Sam. So far pretty normal but straight away those short chapters pack a punch as everything changes and we discover it’s an offence to run and their walk/run home from school isn’t free. It has soldiers patrolling who can take you away for doing just that. As the chapters develop there are key points in all, clues are in the chapter titles so that the read is very quick and pacey.
Tash and her friend Sam witness a man who sets himself on fire. The pertinent page Facts about Tibet is where we learn that 140 people have undertaken this act in Tibet since 2009 in desperation. This act sets off a lock down of the village with curfews tightened. Soldiers raid the village and remove people from their homes. Tash’s Mum and Dad ensure Tash can make an escape, want her to go and find the Dalai Lama in India and seek safety. Tash and Sam then set off on a dangerous journey for freedom.