The book is written for children and the story is really cute. What I found most appealing was the universal nature of hating change, particularly changes as big as moving to another country so far away for any reason. Aref has normal and understandable concerns about moving from his home country. His parents have normal and understandable reasons to want to make the move happen.
I've seen stories about Americans moving to other countries and it was fun to experience a story where America was the strange and dreaded destination. It's not even America that's the problem. It's the leaving in general.
I also really love Sidi and his way of dealing with this issue. I love the way he seems to revel in his country and in spending time with his grandson. I love the way he talks about the turtles laying eggs in the sand and the way Aref's favorite animal brings into focus what is expected of him in this moving adventure.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Peter Ganim, and was only 4 hours long. It seems like a perfect length for a book rated for this age group. This would be a great book for middle grade readers, especially for schools to add as recommended reading at that age. It reminds us that moving and hating to move and everything that worries us about it are completely normal and fairly similar. We aren't so different after all and someone is looking at our hometown the same way that we are looking at theirs.