In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Here’s some books that are popular and connect to refugees… This is a mix of picture books and fiction books
Boy Overboard / Girl Underground by Morris Gleitzman – Goodreads Summary for Boy Overboard: “Jamal and Bibi have a dream: To lead Australia to football glory in the next World Cup. But first they must face pirates, storms, and assassins. Can Jamal and his family survive their incredible journey and get to Australia?” Goodreads Summary for Girl Underground: “Trying to fit in at a posh new school is really hard when your loving and lovable family also happen to be criminals. Bridget is succeeding pretty well and has even made a friend, Menzies, the son of the federal Minister for National Development. Then she finds out about Menzies’ penfriend, Jamal, a refugee kid from Afghanistan held in a detention centre. When daring appeals to the government and the prime minister himself fail to set Jamal and his sister free, Bridget and Menzies decide to take matters into their own hands. Sometimes the only way to make things happen is to do them yourself. A story of friendship, courage and Iraqi blenders from the best-selling author of Boy Overboard.”
Parvana’s Journey by Deborah Ellis – Goodreads Summary: “In Parvana’s Journey, the Taliban still control Afghanistan, but Kabul is in ruins. Parvana’s father has just died, and her mother, sister, and brother could be anywhere in the country. Parvana knows she must find them. Despite her youth, Parvana sets out alone, masquerading as a boy. She soon meets other children who are victims of war — an infant boy in a bombed-out village, a nine-year-old girl who thinks she has magic powers over landmines, and a boy with one leg. The children travel together, forging a kind of family out of sheer need. The strength of their bond makes it possible to survive the most desperate conditions.”
Boys without Names by Kashmira Sheth – Goodreads Summary: “For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. So they must flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family until school starts, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at the offer.
But Gopal has been deceived. There is no factory but, instead, a small, stuffy sweatshop, where he and five other boys are forced to make beaded frames for no money and little food. The boys are forbidden to talk or even to call one another by their real names. In this atmosphere of distrust and isolation, locked in a rundown building in an unknown part of the city, Gopal despairs of ever seeing his family again.
Then, late one night when Gopal decides to share kahanis, or stories, he realizes that storytelling might be the boys’ key to holding on to their sense of self and their hope for any kind of future. If he can make them feel more like brothers than enemies, their lives will be more bearable in the shop—and they might even find a way to escape.”
Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg –
Goodreads Summary: “Serafina has a secret dream.
She wants to go to school
and become a doctor
with her best friend, Julie Marie.
But in their rural village
outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
stand in Serafina’s way–
and Manman’s worries.
More powerful even
than all of these
are the heavy rains
and the shaking earth
that test Serafina’s resolve
in ways she never dreamed.”
The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle – Novel in verse – Goodreads Summary: “The freedom to roam is something that women and girls in Cuba do not have. Yet when Fredrika Bremer visits from Sweden in 1851 to learn about the people of this magical island, she is accompanied by Cecilia, a young slave who longs for her lost home in Africa. Soon Elena, the wealthy daughter of the house, sneaks out to join them. As the three women explore the lush countryside, they form a bond that breaks the barriers of language and culture.
In this quietly powerful new book, award-winning poet Margarita Engle paints a portrait of early women’s rights pioneer Fredrika Bremer and the journey to Cuba that transformed her life.”
Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Peter Sylvada – This is one of my absolutely favorite read alouds. I try to share it with at least one class every year. It provides such hope, world awareness, and has gorgeous language as well. Goodreads Summary: “Inspired by real events, master storyteller Eve Bunting recounts the harrowing yet hopeful story of a family, a war–and a dazzling discovery.”
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed – Goodreads Summary: “When relief workers bring used clothing to the refugee camp, everyone scrambles to grab whatever they can. Ten-year-old Lina is thrilled when she finds a sandal that fits her foot perfectly, until she sees that another girl has the matching shoe. But soon Lina and Feroza meet and decide that it is better to share the sandals than for each to wear only one. As the girls go about their routines washing clothes in the river, waiting in long lines for water, and watching for their names to appear on the list to go to America the sandals remind them that frie ndship is what is most important. Four Feet, Two Sandals was inspired by a refugee girl who asked the authors why there were no books about children like her. With warm colors and sensitive brush strokes, this book portrays the strength, courage, and hope of refugees around the world, whose daily existence is marked by uncertainty and fear.”
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park – Goodreads Summary: “The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.”
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate – Novel in verse – Goodreads Summary: “Kek comes from Africa. In America he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He’s never walked on ice, and he falls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter – cold and unkind.
In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she’s missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care; an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means “family” in Kek’s native language. As Kek awaits word of his mother’s fate, he weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.”
The Little Refugee by Ahn Do and Suzanne Do, illustrated by Bruce Whatley – Picture Book – Goodreads Summary: “Anh nearly didn’t make it to Australia. His entire family came close to losing their lives as they escaped from war-torn Vietnam in an overcrowded boat. Anh’s life in Australia also started off badly as he was a small boy who didn’t speak English. But he never stopped smiling and went on to achieve his dreams.”
Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie – Goodreads Summary: “A young boy unites with thousands of other orphaned boys to walk to safety in a refugee camp in another country, after war destroys their villages in southern Sudan. Based on true events.”
The Whispering Cloth: A refugee’s story by Pegi Deitz Shea – Goodreads Summary: “A young Hmong girl in a Thai refugee camp in the mid-1970s finds the story within herself to create her own pa’ndau.”
Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff – Goodreads Summary: “When Lily meets Albert, a refugee from Hungary, during the summer of 1944, they begin a special friendship. However, Lily and Albert have both told lies, and Lily has told a lie that may cost Albert his life.”
Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse – Goodreads Summary: “In letters to her cousin, a young Jewish girl chronicles her family’s flight from Russia in 1919 and her own experiences when she must be left in Belgium for a while when the others immigrate to America.”
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – Goodreads Summary: “Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.”
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