Boy Overboard

Morris Gleitzman

Why must Jamal, Bibi and their parents flee Afghanistan? How do they manage to escape?

1. Jamal, Bibi and their parents must flee Afghanistan because the government found out that their mum was secretly a teacher and was educating girls at a secret school at their home. They manage to escape by Jamal, Bibi and the dad driving in the taxi to an abandon shop to wait for their mum. They then go into the taxi and drive over the boarder from Afghanistan. They stay at a refugee camp for a while then sell the taxi to get into a truck and drive to the airport. The plane takes them to a boat that they will be travelling on to get them to Austrailia.

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The story is told in the first person from a child’s perspective. It uses humour and naivety, even in grave situations. Find three examples of this. Explain why you think Morris Gleitzman uses humour to tell the story.

Three examples in the book from when Jamal uses humour and naivety are...


  1. When Jamal and Bibi think it is a good idea to go into the soccer field and show the government their skills even though it was dangerous.
  2. When he was talking to the tank in the beginning.
  3. When Jamal says 'I'll send Yufas grandfather some dolly Parton cd's when we get to Australia'.


I think that the reason why the author uses humour to tell the story is because it makes the story more interesting and it makes the story seem a little less terrible from what the family was suffering. The book is from a child's perspective and young people reading this book would like to feel what it was like for them in a way they can relate to, by humour.

What do you think should happen to Jamal’s family and other families like them?

What i think should happen to Jamal's family and others like them is that they should be taken care of a bit more and live a better life to achieve their goals in life. The government should help those people and families to get started in a better life so they can enjoy the things that we enjoy and so they don't suffer much. Jamal's family should be able to make their way to Australia and start their new life like that.