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Young Adult Nonfiction Adventure & Adventurers

Escape From Tibet

A True Story

by (author) Nick Gray & Laura Scandiffio

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
Adventure & Adventurers, Emigration & Immigration, Asia
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2014
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12
  • Reading age: 12 to 18


Two brothers face cruelty, hardship, and hope, on the ultimate journey in search of freedom.

Eleven-year-old Tenzin hasn’t seen his older brother, Pasang, in five years, so he is thrilled when Pasang unexpectedly returns to their Tibetan village late one night. Now eighteen, Pasang is an educated monk whose return from India provokes the suspicious and ever- watchful eyes of the Chinese authorities. Unbeknownst to Tenzin, Pasang has conspired with their mother to leave again—taking his younger brother with him, this time, in search of a better life. At first Tenzin is thrilled to embark on such an adventure with Pasang. But crushing homesickness soon sets in as the brothers eke out a meager existence begging in the unfamiliar streets of Lhasa, often narrowly dodging the police. They finally scrape together enough money to begin the most harrowing part of their journey: the physically excruciating, dangerous, and illegal trek to a new country on the other side of the Himalayan mountains, where they can be granted refugee status and begin to rebuild their lives. Along the way they suffer abuse at the hands of border police, meet fellow Tibetans from whom they draw strength, and have a chance encounter with a film crew that will change their lives.

Based on the true story of the brothers’ journey in the mid-1990s first made into an acclaimed documentary by Nick Gray, Escape from Tibet is a riveting tale of courage, adventure, and triumph. The outpouring of support for the boys that resulted after the documentary aired in the U.K. led to the brothers moving to Britain, where they live today. Only now do they feel that the full story of their daring escape can be told.

A foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and an introduction provide historical context. Black and white photographs of Nick Gray’s travels through Tibet vividly evoke the boys’ homeland, and a timeline, glossary, and maps further contextualize the Tibetans’ controversial and ongoing struggle with China.

About the authors

Nick Gray is a documentary-maker whose films have won many international awards. He now writes and teaches at the University of Lincoln in England where he is Visiting Professor. Escape From Tibet is his first book.

Nick Gray's profile page

Laura Scandiffio has worked as an editor for both children's and adult trade books. As an author, her previous book, The Martial Arts Book, showcased her love of history, her meticulous research, and her knack for storytelling.

Laura Scandiffio's profile page


  • Unknown, Skipping Stones Honor Award
  • Unknown, South Asia Book Award, Highly Commended
  • Unknown, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Unknown, Red Cedar Book Award finalist
  • Unknown, Golden Oak Award nomination, Ontario Library Association

Editorial Reviews

“The graphic depiction of their experiences is so riveting that it reads like fiction . . . A valuable and fascinating resource.”

Kirkus Reviews, 09/15/14

“The brothers’ triumph makes for a heartwarming tale.”

School Library Journal, 12/14

“An engaging read with a happy ending is a safe way to introduce young readers to the plight of Tibetans in exile, and a good lead-in to other materials on the area and its people.”

Resource Links, 02/15

“Inspirational . . . a valuable addition.”

CM Reviews, 01/09/15

“A good way to broaden the perspectives of readers whose knowledge of modern Tibet is drawn solely from assignment titles or biographies of the Dalai Lama.”

Booklist, 11/26/14

“The photos are the most moving, reminding readers of the real people behind the story.”

Quebec Library Association Bulletin, 04/15

Other titles by Laura Scandiffio