From picture books to teen here are some children's books that explore and explain the ongoing refugee crisis and what it means to have to flee you home and have to start your life over.
© Francesca Sanna
The Journey • Francesca Sanna
Flying Eye Books • 9781911171348
What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? A mother and her two children set out on such a journey: one filled with fear of the unknown, but also great hope.
Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children Book Prize 2017
My Name is Not Refugee • Kate Milner
Barrington Stoke Ltd • 9781911370062
A young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. A powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make.
Oranges in No Man's Land • Elizabeth Laird
Pan Macmillan • 9781509802920
Ayesha lives in a battle-scarred building with her granny. Outside, a war is ripping the city apart - but Ayesha doesn’t even know why the two sides are fighting. Life gets even scarier when Granny’s medicine runs out. So Ayesha takes matters into her own hands - and in her search for a doctor makes the forbidden journey across no man’s land . . .
Welcome to Nowhere • Elizabeth Laird
Pan Macmillian • 9781509840472
Twelve-year-old Omar and his brothers and sisters were born and raised in the beautiful and bustling city of Bosra, Syria. Omar doesn't care about politics - all he wants is to grow up to become a successful businessman who will take the world by storm. But when his clever older brother, Musa, gets mixed up with some young political activists, everything changes . . .
Before long, bombs are falling, people are dying, and Omar and his family have no choice but to flee their home with only what they can carry. Yet no matter how far they run, the shadow of war follows them - until they have no other choice than to attempt the dangerous journey to escape their homeland altogether. But where do you go when you can't go home?
A Story Like the Wind • Gill Lewis
Oxford University Press • 9780192758958
A beautifully illustrated story of freedom, music, and seeking refuge. A small group of refugees is crowded on to a boat on the sea. They share their stories as the boat travels towards the dream of safety and freedom. One boy, Rami, has brought his violin, and his story of how the violin was invented, and of a stallion that could run like the wind, weaves through the other stories, bringing them all together into a celebration of hope and of the power of music and story. A very special, beautifully illustrated, fable for all who strive to understand, and to stand together with, those around them.
Who Are Refugees and Migrants? What Makes People Leave Their Homes? And Other Big Questions • Michael Rosen • Annemarie Young •
Hachette Children's Group • 9780750299855
What does it mean for people to have to leave their homes, and what happens when they seek entry to another country? This book explores the history of refugees and migration around the world and the effects on people of never-ending war and conflict. It compares the effects on society of diversity and interculturalism with historical attempts to create a racially 'pure' culture. It takes an international perspective, and offers a range of views from people who have personal experience of migration, including the campaigners Meltem Avcil and Muzoon Almellehan, the comedian and actor Omid Djalili and the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Aimed at young people aged 10 and upwards, the book encourages readers to think for themselves about the issues involved. There is also a role-play activity asking readers to imagine themselves in the situation of having to decide whether to leave their homes and seek refuge in a new country.
The Bombs That Brought Us Together • Brian Conaghan •
Bloomsbury • 9781408855768
Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark; no drinking; no litter; no fighting. You don't want to get on the wrong side of the people who run Little Town. When he meets Pavel Duda, a refugee from Old Country, the rules start to get broken. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes for ever.
Sometimes, to keep the people you love safe, you have to do bad things. As Little Town's rules crumble, Charlie is sucked into a dangerous game. There's a gun, and a bad man, and his closest friend, and his dearest enemy.
Charlie Law wants to keep everyone happy, even if it kills him. And maybe it will ...
Refugee Boy • Benjamin Zephaniah •
Bloomsbury • 9781408894996
Acclaimed performance poet and novelist Benjamin Zephaniah's honest, wry and poignant story of a young refugee left in London is of even more power and pertinence today than when it was first published. Life is not safe for Alem. His father is Ethopian, his mother Eritrean. Their countries are at war, and Alem is welcome in neither place. So Alem is excited to spend a holiday in London with his father - until he wakes up to find him gone. What seems like a betrayal is in fact an act of love, but now Alem is alone in a strange country, and he must forge his own path ...
The Bone Sparrow • Zana Fraillon •
Hachette Children's Group • 9781510101555
Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he's at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures.
Then, one day it brings him Jimmie. Carrying a notebook that she's unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck - both talismans of her family's past and the mother she's lost - Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence.
As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie's family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.
Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize
NOTE: Each synopsis is taken directly from the books blurbs, writing in italics is not my own work.