This is where picture books help, as the pictures help to tell the story, but the explanation is at their level. Talking to children about children in other countries is a step towards teaching positive attitudes towards people from other cultural backgrounds. Children learn so much about the world they live in, from books.
We would like to showcase two kinds of books. One written by an adult author, and the others written by child refugees. It is an amazing insight into how the young children feel, and what their experiences have been like. Imagine fleeing your homeland with nothing, and not even your parents, to a country whose language you don't speak. You don't need to be in-depth in any conversation that extends from the story, but give your child a moment to think what the experience would be like. You can explore feelings like fear, grief, confusion, empathy, loss, and issues like tolerance, justice, identity and more. Use the pictures in the story too. Point out things, ask questions. This helps promote creative thinking and visual literacy. All at an age appropriate level.
Teacup by Rebecca Young
Once there was a boy who had to leave home... and find another. In his bag he carried a book, a bottle and a blanket. In his teacup he held some earth from where he used to play. This is one boy's story of leaving his homeland, surviving a long journey by sea... and finding a safe, new place to call home. For ages 3 and over.
Ali's Story by Salvador Maldonado and Andy Glynne
This is the real-life story of 10 year old refugee Ali who, accompanied by his grandmother, flees his home country of Afghanistan to avoid the conflict caused by the war.
Told in Ali's own words, it documents his feelings of alienation, separation and suffering that war can place on immigrant children and their families, and the thread of hope that can help them to overcome their ordeal. For ages 7 and over. Click here to read the book review.
Rachel's Story by Andy Glynne and Salvador Maldonado
This is the story of 13 year old refugee Rachel, who along with her family, flees her home country to escape the persecution they suffer as Christians living in a predominantly Muslim country.
Told in Rachel's own words, it documents the hostility and rejection that the family suffer at the hands of their community, as well as the courage and resilience they show in the face of immigration authorities, detention centres, deportation and, finally, in overcoming their problems and settling in their new country. For ages 7 and over.
Juliane's Story by Andy Glynne and Karl Hammond
This is the story of Juliane from Zimbabwe who was separated from her mother at the age of three during the conflicts in her home country.
It tells the distressing tale of how Juliane was brought up in an orphanage with many other children, until a remarkable chance meeting with her mother reunites the pair of them. They apply for political asylum and go to live in the UK where they start a new life. For ages 7 and over.
Hamid's Story by Andy Glynne and Tom Senior
This is the real-life story of 10 year old refugee Hamid who flees Eritrea with his mother to escape the war and threats to his family from the government.
Told in Hamid's own words, the story reveals the hardship and suffering experienced by immigrants who are rebuilding their lives with little understand of the language and culture in a new country. Life starts to get easier, but the horrors of the war are never far from Hamid's thoughts. For ages 7 and over.
Navid's Story by Andy Glynne and Jonathan Topf
When Navid's father's life was in danger, he fled their home in Iran and came to the UK. Navid and his mother followed him to the UK a couple of years later and it was strange for Navid to be reunited with his father as things had changed so much.
He describes why he had to leave and his long journey over here. Navid tells of his struggle to adapt to life in another country. Narrated by Navid, we see the devastation that conflict can have on children and families. Leaving family and friends and starting a new life in a new country was hard for Navid and his family. For ages 7 and over.