Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bookmarks: Picture Books About Refugees

One of the best ways to gain empathy for others is by stories. If you read Voices from Syria and want to share refugee stories with your children here are several picture books about children who had to flee their home. Some of these stories took place many years ago, others are more recent, but each one tells the story of courage and friendship. These books were all available at my public library, but some I've enjoyed so much that I've added them to our home library.

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee
Hundreds of Jewish refugees are gathering at the Japanese consulate in Lithuaia to request visas. When the Japanese government refuses to give the visas, Sugihara and his family make a crucial decision that will save the lives of thousands. An amazing true story from World War 2.

The Blessing Cup, written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
We love Polacco's books. She is known best for her heartwarming stories about her family. The Blessing Cup records their journey from Russia and the kindest that was shown to them.

How I Learned Geography, written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz
Fleeing from the war in their homeland, they now face poverty and hunger in a strange land. But instead of bread, Father brings home a map. A childhood memory from World War 2.

My Name Is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed, illustrated by Catherine Stock
Because he is a refugee, Sangoel arrived in America from Sudan with not much more than his family and his name. No one can pronounce his name until Sangoel comes up with a creative solution.

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ted Lewin
A young Muslim immigrate joins her class on a field trip to an apple orchard. Ted Lewin is one of my all-time favorite children's book illustrators. The watercolors take you to a sunny fall day and the story reminds us of the power of shared laughter.

My Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Yoon loves her Korean name and its happy dancing figures but her father says she needs to learn to write her name with English letters. At her new school, Yoon tries out some new names. A special book about adjusting to a new country.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed, illustrated by Doug Chayka

When relief workers bring clothing to Lina's refugee camp in Pakistan, she is thrilled to find a beautiful sandal that fits perfectly. But another girl has claimed the matching sandal. Will the two girls find a way to share the sandals? A sweet story of friendship.

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  1. These are the exact kind of books I like to have on our bookshelf! Thank you for these recommendations!
    Just the other week I stumbled across two of Patricia Polacco's books. After scanning the one and then reading the back page where she says that the book is a story about herself, I purchased both books.☺️

    1. I was given one of Polacco's books several years ago and since then I've discovered that she wrote many wonderful books. Some of them are not our favorites, but others are terrific. She is an amazingly prolific author/illustrator.

  2. These bookmarks are so helpful to me. As a homeschooling mom of a boy who loves to read, I value the resources you share! Thanks! I'm a fairly new reader but have already benefited from a number of the things you have shared, one of them being your doughnut recipes. I appreciate the positive, practical content here.

    1. Thanks, Renae. I like to share book lists that are just what I wish I could find myself. I have gained so much from other mom's book recommendations.

    2. I enjoy Patricia Polacco Books- most of them are amazing. I also recently came across "One Green Apple"
      Our grandchildren enjoy being read to from the Polacco books. Will have to check out some of the other titles. Thanks for sharing book ideas!

  3. See if you can find STEPPING STONES by Margriet Ruurs. It is about a Syrian refugee family's journey. Also HOW MANY DAYS TO AMERICA? By Eve Bunting. CINNAMON MOON by Tess Hilmo is a chapter book about refugees from the Great Chicago Fire. Thanks for your suggestions.

  4. Thank you for a thought-provoking list of children's books! When I taught full-time, I used "Passage to Freedom" for an interdisciplinary study on literature and history. My students always found it very eye-opening. You may enjoy checking out my website some time for more children's books (www.sunshinereaders.com).

  5. Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini is terribly sad-- more of an adult book in some ways. But it's real, and haunting, and beautiful.


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