Refugees

by Karen Walch | Sep 26, 2022

Stories from around the world

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
by Judith Kerr

Anna, 9, and Max, 11, have a nearly perfect life. Their family is quite rich and their father is a famous writer. But it is 1933 and election time, and Anna’s dad has has been writing anti-Nazi articles. If Adolph Hitler is elected, Anna’s dad will be in big trouble, and Hitler does win. After receiving a tip from a policeman that the police are looking for him, Anna’s dad escapes to Switzerland. The family joins him there, then they go to France, and finally to England. They struggle to survive in the chaos of World War II.

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The Boy at the Back of the Class
by Onjali Q Rauf

There’s an empty chair at the back of Mrs. Khan’s 3rd grade classroom until one day Ahmet, a quiet boy with a dirty backpack sits there. The children have a lot of questions about him–but he can’t speak English. Although some of the kids bully Ahmet, four third graders decide to make friends with him. They decide to take matters into their own hands when they learn Ahmet is separated from his parents and the UK border is going to close. Who can do something? Who would have more authority than Queen Elizabeth? The four children put secret plans in place to visit the queen.

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When Stars are Scattered
by Victoria Jamieson

This beautifully illustrated graphic novel is written by Omar, a teenage refugee boy, and award winner Victoria Jamieson. It is the true story about Omar and Hassa, his nonverbal younger brother. They have lived in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya for seven years. Their father is dead and they don’t know where their mother is. It tells the struggles of living in a refugee camp.

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90 Miles to Havana
by Enrique-Flores Galbis

In Cuba, if you catch a fish on December 31, you’ll have good luck the whole year. But Julian loses a swordfish as long as the family’s station wagon, so when he hears gunshots on New Year’s Eve–the start of a revolution–he wonders if it is his fault. A new leader takes over the country and Julian’s family needs to get out. But, the new government won't let his parents out, so Julian and his two older brothers become part of Operation Pedro Pan and come to the U.S. alone to a resettlement area. They find there are bullies in America as well as Cuba, but Julian finds he has courage he didn’t know he had. Note: From 1960-1962 over 14,000 unaccompanied children ages 4-16 left Cuba for Catholic refuge centers and then foster homes.

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Oranges in No Man’s Land
by Elizabeth Laird

Ayesha’s family were farmers in southern Lebanon until their country was invaded. They fled to the capital, Beirut, where Ayesha’s father built them a little shack on the edge of the city. Ayesha’s dad left to look for work and they didn’t see him much. Then a civil war came to Beirut, and Ayesha, her grandmother and two little brothers had to run. They were surviving until Grandmother became sick and it was up to Ayesha to cross no man’s land into enemy territory to get medicine for her grandmother.

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In the Sea there are Crocodiles
by Fabio Geda

Ten year old Enaiatolla Akbari lives in a small village in Afghanistan, but when the Taliban take over in 2000, he and his mother flee to Pakistan. His mother leaves him there and he begins a 5 year ordeal that takes him through Iran, Turkey, and Greece until he seeks political asylum in Italy . Based on a true story, reconstructed from fragmented memories. (In some places in the book, the author will ask questions to Enaiatollah, and sometimes he’ll answer and sometimes he’ll say he doesn’t want to talk about it.)

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Brother’s Keeper
by Julie Lee

It’s 1950 in North Korea, and 12-year-old Sora Pak is dealing with several hard things: girls aren’t worth very much in Korea and Sora has had to quit school so she can help with her little brother. . . AND her family is living under the iron rule of Communism. There is no hope for their family to escape until a war breaks out between the North and South, and in the chaos the Pak family leave their mountain village to walk hundreds of miles to Busan in South Korea. When a bombing changes everything, Sora must get her 8-year-old brother Youngsoo to South Korea alone–across rivers and over mountains facing frostbite and starvation. Partially based on the experiences of the author’s mother.

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The Red Pencil        
by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Amira has turned 12. She has new responsibilities, and hopes to go to school and learn to read. But although her Sudanese village is peaceful, her country is at war. When the Janjaweed attack her village she walks and walks to the nearest refugee camp with her mother, sister, and other villagers. A gift of a red pencil opens her mind and gives her hope.

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A Story like the Wind
by Gill Lewis

Suke is 13 and he’s in a boat with a slender case as his only possession. When he refuses food and a shawl from the others, they ask why. He tells them he has nothing to give in return.. He has only his violin. The passengers ask for a story from his violin to help them make their voyage in a fragile boat of plastic and air. He helps them make it through the night.

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Lubna and Pebble
by Wendy Meddour

In this touching picture book, Lubna’s best friend was a pebble. She found it when she got off the boat in Greece. She drew a smiley face on it and told it everything–about her brothers, the war. She introduced the pebble to Amir when he arrived in the tent city. One day Lubna and her dad got the great news that they were leaving for their new home. Amir cried, and Lubna made the decision Amir needed the pebble more than she did.

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