Supported by months of intense interviews and research, "Cold White Sun" is based on the true story of a boy who escapes political turmoil in Ethiopia and shows up alone and terrified at the former Greyhound station in Calgary. Set partly in Ethiopia and partly in Canada, readers will gain insight into what it means to be a refugee.
- 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for Young People's Literature - Text, Finalist
- R. Ross Annett Award for Children's Literature, Winner
- 2020 High Plains Book Award, Current Finalist
- Best Books for Teens 2019, Canadian Children's Book Center
“An emotionally gripping work of fiction...A profound, heartbreaking narrative filled with loss, confusion, displacement, and longing.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Holler's tale provides a timely refugee narrative driven by its protagonist's intense emotional experience. Holler has taken great care to focus on Tesfaye's humanity throughout a story that could so easily be overtaken by its political upheaval, physical peril, and culture shock; readers will be compelled by Tesfaye's eye-opening perspective as they follow him through terror and survival.”
- Horn Book Magazine
"Cold White Sun is purposefully spare, yet wonderfully vivid, the language of this book brings to life the settings, characters and emotions of a young protagonist’s life from political upheaval in Ethiopia, through abandonment at a wintry Calgary bus station and into the struggles of making his way, without guidance, in an unfamiliar world. The writing is vivid, often raw, and the protagonist’s story lingers far after the final page."
-Jury Remarks, Alberta Literary Awards
"The writing, descriptive and beautiful, is well-suited to a narrative that asks young adult readers to examine their prejudices, focus on empathy, and develop acceptance and understanding. You never know the depth of someone else’s story."
– Canadian Review of Materials, Feb 2020