With the current and ongoing refugee crisis being a constant cause for concern, we thought we would take a moment to discuss some books which broach this topic in a compassionate and respectful way.
Recently we featured the book ‘Child I’ by Steve Tasane on our Instagram page.
The refugee children in this narrative lose their identities, not least by being given a letter of the alphabet instead of a name. The strong undertone implying that the value of our identity lies only on paper, serves to drive home just how dire the situation is for refugees.
Another recent feature takes the form of a picture book; ‘The Day War Came’ by Nicola Davies with captivating illustrations by Rebecca Cobb.
Nicola Davies wrote this poem on the back of hearing some of the worst parts of the refugee crisis. It was first published in The Guardian, then subsequently turned into this incredible book.
Ruta Sepetys is an author I highly recommend when broaching the topic of wartime tragedies for a younger audience. Her first novel ‘Between Shades of Gray’ was an incredible book based on real stories from those who survived the genocide of Baltic people.
Her third novel, ‘Salt to the Sea’ is just as powerful, but this time focuses of refugees during WWII who are making their way to the MV Wilhelm Gustloff – a huge German hospital and transport ship which ultimately sank and caused thousands more deaths than even the RMS Titanic disaster. The narrative follows the individual stories of four young characters who have been affected by the war, and their continuing journey. It is honest, painful and thought provoking, and I can tell you this book reduced me to tears. Ruta has an incredible gift when it comes using her words to highlight important events in history.
Another book we’d like to highlight as it is extremely important for this topic, is ‘Forced to Flee’ published by the UN Refugee Agency. It’s aimed at ages 14+ and consists of real stories told by refugee children explaining their feelings and experiences about being forced to flee their homes. Alongside this, the book gives us background information as to how each crisis occurred and the present situation for each child.
Keep an eye on our Instagram page @little_english_bookworm, as we will have more recommendations popping up just like these.