128 pages

Trade Cloth

List Price US $24.99
ISBN: 9781942658405


ISBN: 9781942658412

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“Intimately told. . . . Masterfully composed. While immigration may be a contentious political issue, Alpha reminds us of the people behind the headlines: those who inhabit the smugglers’ compartments in rickety trucks, pay for fake passports, and trust their lives to boats that are barely seaworthy, all in search of a better future for themselves and their families.”

Foreword Reviews

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“A migrant’s harrowing journey to follow his wife and son to Paris from Côte d’Ivoire unfolds in an illustrated narrative that . . . movingly depicts Alpha’s challenging passage.”

Publishers Weekly

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“A powerful graphic novel that is also suitable for young adults. . . . [Alpha’s] first-person account of his ‘adventures’ devolves into a living nightmare as the journey drags on with a constantly changing group of companions. The prose is simple, and the story is told without embellishment. . . . The illustrations set a mood of haste and simplicity, appearing to be marker sketches—almost as if they could have been made on the journey. . . . It will be difficult to look upon the plight of any refugees without reflecting on Alpha’s journey.”


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“Groundbreaking. . . . Stunning text.”


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“Takes us to the human soul of the migrant crisis and the exploitation they face.”

Daily Record

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“A searing tale of our time. . . . Once you read this deeply troubling book, passing by, looking away, is no longer an option.”

Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse and An Eagle in the Snow

“Amnesty International UK endorses Alpha because it provides insight into the realities of migration and the desperate search for a better life.”

Nicky Parker, Publisher of Amnesty International UK

Alpha’s wife and son left Côte d’Ivoire months ago to join his sister-in-law in Paris, but Alpha has heard nothing from them since. With a visa, Alpha’s journey to reunite with his family would take a matter of hours. Without one, he is adrift for over a year, encountering human traffickers in the desert, refugee camps in northern Africa, overcrowded boats carrying migrants between the Canary Islands and Europe’s southern coast, and an unforgettable cast of fellow travelers lost and found along the way. Throughout, Alpha stays the course, carrying his loved ones’ photograph close to his heart as he makes his perilous trek across continents.

Featuring emotive, full-color artwork created in felt-tip pen and wash, Alpha is an international award–winning graphic novel supported by Amnesty International and Le Korsa, a nonprofit organization devoted to improving human lives in Senegal.

Bessora and Barroux’s graphic novel Alpha is translated from the French by Sarah Ardizzone, an award-winning translator of over forty titles including The Little Prince Graphic Novel, a New York Times Notable Book. Ardizzone has twice won the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation. She also curates educational programs, including Translation Nation, Translators in Schools, and the Spectacular Translation Machine. She lives in London.

PEN Promotes Award

Doctors Without Borders Prize

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Longlist

Book Riot “Must-Read Comics about Brave People Who Aren’t Superheroes” selection

Big Other “Most Anticipated Small Press Book” selection

Excerpt from Alpha

Watch Bessora discuss her graphic novel Alpha on the BBC’s Authors Live and find out more about the book’s origins in this interview with Bessora and translator Sarah Ardizzone.

View a gallery of images from Alpha in the Guardian.

Find a wealth of resources for your book club and classroom at The Alpha Book.