At the moment all things related to refugees, particularly from Syria, are up for debate and discussion.  All of us, no matter what age, have questions.  What makes a person become a refugee?  What is life like for them?  When my own understanding falls short, books help me bridge the gap.  Whether fiction or not, stories allow us to experience life from another person’s perspective.  Books are a great resource to share information and begin conversations, especially with children. With exploring new perspectives and sparking dialog in mind, here are a few titles on the refugee experience:

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

​After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams

Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers.

The Journey That Saved Curious George:  The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden

Describes the popular children's authors' childhoods and early life together, their travels and marriage in Brazil, and their dramatic escape from World War II-torn Europe on bicycles.

Noodle Pie by Ruth Stark

Andy's father is a former refugee from Vietnam. Andy and his father go to Vietnam and meet relatives who speak a different language, seem to be greedy and impatient and run a pretty crummy restaurant. For Andy Vietnam becomes a place for learning how to see things in a whole new way.

The Good Braider by Terry Farish

Follows Viola as she survives brutality in war-torn Sudan, makes a perilous journey, lives as a refugee in Egypt, and finally reaches Portland, Maine, where her quest for freedom and security is hampered by memories.

City of Thorns:  Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence

A researcher for Human Rights Watch describes the refugee camp in Dabaab, home to those fleeing civil war in Somalia, and highlights the life of various residents, including a former child soldier, a schoolgirl and a youth leader.

Additional resources to learn more about refugees:  

For more information on refugees worldwide, see The United Nations Refugee Agency

For an interactive map showing refugee origin and destination see the Migration Policy Institute:

And for information on a local organization that helps immigrants and refugees, check out Kitsap Immigration Assistance Center


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