Welcome to my latest blog post. There have been some fantastic books recently published on the topic of refugees and immigration. My recommendations shared in this piece would be great additions to all libraries.
Hello! A counting book of kindnesses by Hollis Kurman and illustrated by Barroux
This unique counting book will be a great book to share with your little ones but equally it’s a fantastic resource for exploring empathy.
On the surface this is a counting book but wow what a unique one at that, written by Hollis Kurman. Readers join a family as they travel out of danger to a safe place. The different acts of kindness they experience are all shared in the book, incorporating counting along the way. “4 beds keeping us safe and warm” “5 wishes giving us hope.” There is soo much to explore and discuss at each turn of page and the illustrations are very sweetly completed by Barroux.
Mustafa’s Jumper by Coral Rumble and illustrated by Charlotte Cooke.
This book is emotive, it’s honest, it’s relatable and I really feel it should be in many a classroom.
The storyline is based on an award winning poem written by Coral Rumble.
Starting a new school and where no one speaks the same language as you is undoubtably a hard task. That’s what Mustafa has to do. But what about the pupils all ready in the school? Will they be able to help Mustafa? How will they communicate? Will Mustafa like the same things they do?
Milo, the boy pictured on the cover, feels he hasn’t got skills that make him stand out but actually he does, it just takes him a little time to realise. When Mustafa starts the new school Milo is curious but he also shares some of the questions I posed earlier. As time passes Milo and Mustafa become really good friends.
Readers witness the fun they have together, the games they share and the time they spend outside of school too but suddenly without much notice, everything changes. Mustafa has to return to his country.
There are tears, there are hugs but though the boys will be apart their friendship is treasured.
My eldest and I have had so many discussions reading this book and are grateful for the end pages which include information about child refugees also. The illustrations bring the story to life with its realistic drawings of school life and the capturing of tender moments. It’s a great illustrated early chapter book recommended for 5 year olds and up.
Boundless Sky by Amanda Addison and illustrated by Manuela Adreani.
This book is all about a bird, a female swallow infact and the phenomenal journey she makes. We first meet the bird as it visits a young boys garden in September before heading towards the sea. Readers witness the bird going to a great many places and it even befriends a young girl called Leila. She is kind and offers the bird water. Eventually the bird reaches its final destination, North Africa.
It’s so interesting for readers to see how various seasons can affect where particular birds will call home. Their journeys can be faced with much hardships and testing weather conditions but they persevere. The idea of moving mirrors Leila’s journey as soon after meeting the bird she embarks on her own journey.
Observant readers will soak up the brilliant illustrations which includes a double page spread of an exhausted bird passing a boat of people in a moody storm, swipe to see.
The bird doesn’t see Leilah again on its return journey but there is a lovely surprise towards the end of the book when everyone has reached a happy and safe destination.
This book is just so clever. It’s themes of moving including the migrating of the bird is representative of the lengthy journeys some people have to undertake to be in a place of peace and safety. The capturing, unique illustrations are engaging and it’s a great pick for Refugee Week and beyond encouraging empathy and hope.
Migrations Open Hearts Open Borders.
This wonderful, poignant book is a collection of artwork by various children’s book illustrators from across the world. Artwork included, originally for an exhibition named Migrations, is in support of the many individuals who leave their home in hope of finding a safer place to live. For some their journey along the way can make such a migration extremely difficult. This book, divided into themes representative of such a journey includes personal notes and messages making this a truly heartfelt read.
The book would be a wonderful resource in a learning setting. It contains many messages of hope, quotes from writers and the artwork throughout is stunning, highlighting each contributors unique style.
Published by Otter Barry Books, royalties will be donated to Amnesty international and International Board Of Books for Young People.
Quill Soup by Alan Durant and illustrated by Dale Blankenaar
Quill Soup is such a great story based on the African folk tale Stone Soup.
Alan Durant shares the story of a porcupine named Noko. He has travelled a great distance and is very hungry but on arriving at a village it becomes clear that no animal wants to help him. Each animal he asks for help sees him simply as a stranger, unable to assist in his plea for some food. They allegedly have nothing to spare but Noko is a wise porcupine and soon they are supplying food for him to use in his soup.
The artwork is utterly striking by Dale Blankenaar. My girls and I think the colours and details are amazing throughout. The inclusion of animals is so varied in the story aardvark, monkey, meerkat, which I appreciated, and the book really got my eldest talking about strangers and the beauty of sharing.
Little acts of kindness whether that be to a stranger or not is a beautiful thing.
My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner
My Name is Not Refugee is a brilliant book that I would recommend all libraries to have copies of. Many of you I’m sure will be familiar with this book and I think you will agree with me when I describe it as such a moving read.
The book will support readers in understanding how some children are forced to leave their home. It is a powerful story that has questions on each page to encourage discussion, comments and conversation surrounding circumstances that lead to families leaving a place they once thought was safe. Kate Milner has created a book that is truly thought provoking complete with emotive illustrations that are truly touching.
This is a fantastic book to share during the week, marking refugee week.
The Suitcase by Chris Naylor Ballesteros
A group of animals come across a stranger one day. He is unique looking, he looks sad, exhausted and frightened and he’s accompanied by a rather large suitcase. The animals are curious. Do they allow some of their suspicious thoughts to get the better of them or do they give this animal a chance? Can they trust what he says? What is in the suitcase?
The animal has in fact been travelling for a long time, seeking a safer place to call home.
This is such a powerful read for preschoolers and up. The animals share many doubts and their actions speak volumes but what concludes is a friendship and much kindness.
Sometimes gestures and kindness towards a stranger that does look unique, that may have a different story and in this instance that was carrying a suitcase, may bloom into a wonderful friendship. This book represents such a beautiful thing. Along with the colourful characters against clean simple backdrops, it makes it an accessible text for many and the feelings of each character at each stage of the story are illustrated so well.
This is a must have for all learning settings.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
All Are Welcome is a brilliant book. It book which is a celebration of each and every one of us. All of us side by side, embracing each other cultures, interacting with one another and stating that we are all worthy of a safe and welcoming place. I love this book!
“We’re part of a community.
Our strength is our diversity.
A shelter from adversity.
All are welcome here.”
This book would be a fantastic gift for a picture book appreciator, a school or library and the illustrations through out are wonderful. To complete our review we created some homemade crafted food delights. Chinese dumplings, rice, chapatti, savoury pie, were all included on our menu. Food is a great way of bringing people together. To see more of this book you can a full review which I have previously written here.
These are brilliant books that would be fantastic resources in libraries and ones I will be recommending my local library to consider buying.
Until next time, happy reading.
Disclaimers: I received these books from various publishers in exchange for an honest review. I chose to include these books in this piece. This post contains affiliate links.