Guest post by Deborah Goodman

BOY 87 by Ele Fountain is the powerful and brave debut novel about a child refugee, published by Pushkin Children’s Books for readers 10 years+. And during Refugee Week (16-24 June) Ele is available for talks & readings at Refugee Week Events and in schools, to talk about writing BOY 87, whilst she lived in Ethiopia with her young family.

BOY 87 transports us into the world of one child refugee, fourteen-year-old Shif – bringing to life and giving humanity to the thousands of children forced to flee their homes every day. Seen through his eyes, BOY 87 is Shif’s moving and challenging adventure in search of a better life. Shif has a happy family life, enjoys playing chess with his best friend Bini and both have bright futures at school. Then their world implodes and a terrifying and unforgettable new life begins. To escape the enforced army conscription, their mothers quickly plan how their children will travel alone across the desert to the Mediterranean and onwards to England to a new life with relatives, leaving behind all they know. But a “giffa” troop arrests them, wrenching them from their families and takes them to a remote desert prison. So begins the boys’ unforgettable and dangerous journey.

Award-winning author Sarah Crossan (Apple and Rain, One, Weight Of Water) says: “Boy 87 is an original and beautifully written page-turner of a novel about love, survival and the strength that can be found in a hopeful human spirit.”

ELE’s highly successful career as a top publishing editor (working on many multi-award-winning children’s books) was on hold, as her husband’s Foreign Office job took them to live in Ethiopia with their very young family for three years. “Our family move coincided with one of the largest refugee crises in modern history, reflecting in many heart-breaking reports of over-crowded boats sinking off the Mediterranean. But what of the stories that led these people to risk their lives on those boats in the first place? As an editor, I’d spoken to many authors about their inspiration, never thinking I would have any of my own, but now there was a story which wouldn’t let me go. The story I wanted to share was Boy 87.

Sarah Odedina (Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Children’s Books) says: “Boy 87 is beautifully written, it has a huge heart and it is an important book. A story that will give young readers a deeper understanding of the world by showing them that the people that they see on the news are people just like them. A story about friendship and trust, that is full of hope and kindness – it is a fantastically assured debut.”

Award-winning author Elizabeth Laird (Red Sky in the MorningWelcome to Nowhere): “A very important and timely book written with passion and deep knowledge. A breathlessly exciting story with a great heart to it. Shif’s story should be read by everyone who cares about one of the unfolding tragedies of our time. Ele Fountain has walked the ground and it shows. She brings to life the sights, smells, sounds – and the terror – of Shif’s epic journey.”

BOY 87 by Ele Fountain published by Pushkin Children’s Books

Publication date: Thursday 5 April 2018
Price: £6.99
Age: 10yrs+
Format: Paperback Original
ISBN: 9781782691976

Ele Fountain worked as an Editor in children’s publishing, where she was responsible for launching and nurturing the careers of many prize-winning and best-selling authors including Angie Sage, Philip Reeve and Sarah Crossan. She lived in Addis Ababa for several years, where she was inspired to write Boy 87, her debut novel. Ele now lives in what she describes as a ‘not quite falling down house’ in Hampshire with her husband and two young daughters.​

If interested in an event with Ele Fountain please contact Deborah Goodman at and suggest date / times.

Thank you.
FINAL Boy_87 cover JPEG