My Name is Not Refugee and The Boy With Two Hearts on Bishop's Stortford College librarian Lizzie Hall's recommended reading list on the subject of refugees
Bishop's Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall writes about the magic of storytelling...
Dear Reader. Almost every day we see news stories about refugees. And there are countless children in this country who were forced to flee their homeland.
Stories about refugees help to foster empathy and understanding and even inspire younger readers to take action and create safe and welcoming environments for refugees within their own communities.
Here are some books about refugees to read this week...
Babies and toddlers
My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner
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.
The Journey by Francesca Sanna
From the author: The Journey is actually a story about many journeys, and it began with the story of two girls I met in a refugee centre in Italy. After meeting them I realised that behind their journey lay something very powerful.
So I began collecting more stories of migration and interviewing many people from many different countries. A few months later, in September 2014, when I started studying a master of arts in illustration at the Academy of Lucerne, I knew I wanted to create a book about these true stories.
Almost every day on the news we hear the terms "migrants" and "refugees" but we rarely ever speak to or hear the personal journeys that they have had to take. This book is a collage of all those personal stories and the incredible strength of the people within them.
A House Without Walls by Elizabeth Laird
Thirteen-year-old Safiya and her family have been driven out of Syria by civil war. Safiya knows how lucky she is – lucky not to be living in a refugee camp, lucky to be alive.
But it's hard to feel grateful when she's forced to look after her father and brother rather than go back to school, and now that she's lost her home, she's lonelier than ever.
As they struggle to rebuild their lives, Safiya realises that her family has always been incomplete and with her own future in the balance, it's time to uncover the secrets that war has kept buried.
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
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. And 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.
Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah
Alem is on holiday with his father for a few days in London. He has never been out of Ethiopia before and is very excited.
They have a great few days together until one morning when Alem wakes up in the bed and breakfast they are staying at to find the unthinkable. His father has left him.
It is only when the owner of the bed and breakfast hands him a letter that Alem is given an explanation. Alem's father admits that because of the political problems in Ethiopia both he and Alem's mother felt Alem would be safer in London - even though it is breaking their hearts to do this.
Alem is now on his own, in the hands of the social services and the Refugee Council. He lives from letter to letter, waiting to hear from his father, and in particular about his mother, who has now gone missing...
The Boy With Two Hearts by Hamed Amiri
Herat, Afghanistan, 2000. A mother speaks out against the fundamentalist leaders of her country. Meanwhile, her family's watchful eyes never leave their beloved son and brother, whose
rare heart condition means that he will never lead a normal life.
When the Taliban gave an order for the execution of Hamed Amiri's mother, the family knew they had to escape, starting what would be a long and dangerous journey, across Russia and through Europe, with the UK as their ultimate destination.
Travelling as refugees for a year and a half, they suffered attacks from mafia and police, terrifying journeys in strangers' cars, treks across demanding terrain, days spent hidden in lorries without food or drink and were robbed at gunpoint of every penny they owned.
The family's need to reach the UK was intensified by their eldest son's deteriorating condition, and the prospect of life-saving treatment it offered.
The Boy with Two Hearts is not only a tale of a family in crisis, but a love letter to the NHS, which provided hope and reassurance as they sought asylum in the UK and fought to save their loved ones.