Special Collections

Children’s Authors Take On the Refugee Crisis

Description: Explore these titles ranging from pictures books to middle grade to young adult that feature young refugees from across the world as they journey to a new life in a new country.


Showing 1 through 25 of 51 results
 

Escape from Aleppo

by N. H. Senzai

An Indie Next List Pick

“Filled with kindness and hope, but also with the harsh realities of the horrors of war, this heartbreaking book is a necessary reminder of what many people live through every day.” —Booklist (starred review)

Nadia’s family is forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria, when the Arab Spring sparks a civil war in this timely coming-of-age novel from award-winning author N.H. Senzai.Silver and gold balloons.

A birthday cake covered in pink roses. A new dress.

Nadia stands at the center of attention in her parents’ elegant dining room. This is the best day of my life, she thinks. Everyone is about to sing “Happy Birthday,” when her uncle calls from the living room, “Baba, brothers, you need to see this.” Reluctantly, she follows her family into the other room. On TV, a reporter stands near an overturned vegetable cart on a dusty street. Beside it is a mound of smoldering ashes. The reporter explains that a vegetable vendor in the city of Tunis burned himself alive, protesting corrupt government officials who have been harassing his business. Nadia frowns.

It is December 17, 2010: Nadia’s twelfth birthday and the beginning of the Arab Spring. Soon anti-government protests erupt across the Middle East and, one by one, countries are thrown into turmoil. As civil war flares in Syria and bombs fall across Nadia’s home city of Aleppo, her family decides to flee to safety. Inspired by current events, this novel sheds light on the complicated situation in Syria that has led to an international refugee crisis, and tells the story of one girl’s journey to safety.

Date Added: 08/24/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Tangled Threads

by Pegi Deitz Shea

For the Hmong people living in overcrowded refugee camps in Thailand, America is a dream: the land of peace and plenty. In 1995, ten years after their arrival at the camp, thirteen-year-old Mai Yang and her grandmother are about to experience that dream.

In America, they will be reunited with their only remaining relatives, Mai's uncle and his family. They will discover the privileges of their new life: medical care, abundant food, and an apartment all their own.

But Mai will also feel the pressures of life as a teenager. Her cousins, now known as Heather and Lisa, try to help Mai look less like a refugee, but following them means disobeying Grandma and Uncle.

From showers and smoke alarms to shopping, dating, and her family's new religion, Mai finds life in America complicated and confusing. Ultimately, she will have to reconcile the old ways with the new, and decide for herself the kind of woman she wants to be.

This archetypal immigrant story introduces readers to the fascinating Hmong culture and offers a unique outsider's perspective on our own.

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings

by Sophia Bennett

Three trendy British BFFs help a brilliant Ugandan girl in this heartfelt fashion fairy tale!

Once upon a time in London town, there were three fab "birds": Nonie's a freak for fashion. Eco-conscious Edie blogs to save the world--and to get into Harvard. And starter-starlet Jenny just finished filming a small part in a BIG Hollywood blockbuster opposite a drool-worthy boy.

But when these trendy Brit besties meet Crow, a refugee girl who happens to be an amazing designer, their worldview gets an extreme makeover. As they learn about the serious situation in Crow's homeland, the three friends decide to mix-and-match their talents to call attention to the crisis of Uganda's Night Walking children.

Fashion and compassion: C'est tres chic! Now Nonie's just got to lace up her (always a classic) Converse kicks, put on her (vintage Dior pillbox) thinking cap, and somehow "make it work"!

A fierce, sweet, boldface fashion fairy tale!

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Oranges in No Man's Land

by Elizabeth Laird

Oranges in No Man's Land tells the riveting story of ten-year-old Ayesha's terrifying journey across no man's land to reach a doctor in hostile territory in search of medicine for her dying grandmother.

Set in Lebanon during the civil war, this story is told by award-winning author Elizabeth Laird and is based on personal, real-life events.

Elizabeth stayed on the green line in Beirut in 1977 in a war-damaged flat with her husband and six-month-old son. Memories of her son sleeping in a suitcase on the floor, taking his first steps on the bullet-riddled balcony, playing with the soldiers on the checkpoint, and her husband racing through no man's land in the buildup to a battle have all inspired this gripping and moving story.

Elizabeth Laird says, "When I wrote Oranges in No Man's Land, I didn't know that Lebanon would be plunged back so soon into a nightmare. Caught up in that nightmare are children like Ayesha and Samar, whose lives political leaders so easily throw away."

Elizabeth Laird has been nominated four times for the Carnegie Medal and has won both the Nestl Smarties Book Prize and the Children's Book Award (UK). Her numerous books, including A Little Piece of Ground (Haymarket Books, 2006), have been published around the world.

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Tropical Secrets

by Margarita Engle

Daniel has escaped Nazi Germany with nothing but a desperate dream that he might one day find his parents again. But that golden land called New York has turned away his ship full of refugees, and Daniel finds himself in Cuba. As the tropical island begins to work its magic on him, the young refugee befriends a local girl with some painful secrets of her own. Yet even in Cuba, the Nazi darkness is never far away ...

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Star in the Forest

by Laura Resau

Zitlally's family is undocumented, and her father has just been arrested for speeding and deported back to Mexico. As her family waits for him to return—they’ve paid a coyote to guide him back across the border—they receive news that he and the coyote’s other charges have been kidnapped and are being held for ransom.

Meanwhile, Zitlally and a new friend find a dog in the forest near their trailer park. They name it Star for the star-shaped patch over its eye. As time goes on, Zitlally starts to realize that Star is her father’s “spirit animal,” and that as long as Star is safe, her father will be also. But what will happen to Zitlally’s dad when Star disappears?

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

The Only Road

by Alexandra Diaz

Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous and life-changing journey from his home in Guatemala to live with his older brother in the United States in this gripping and realistic middle grade novel.

Jaime is sitting on his bed drawing when he hears a scream. Instantly, he knows: Miguel, his cousin and best friend, is dead. Everyone in Jaime's small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that's known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed--like Miguel. With Miguel gone, Jaime fears that he is next. There's only one choice: accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico.

Inspired by true events, The Only Road is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life. It is a story of fear and bravery, love and loss, strangers becoming family, and one boy's treacherous and life-changing journey.

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Return To Sender

by Julia Alvarez

After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure.

Tyler isn't sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented?

And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life.

Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico.

Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

Winner of the Pura Belpre Medal

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Outcasts United

by Warren St. John

At the center of the story is fiery Coach Luma, who relentlessly drives her players to success on the soccer field while holding together their lives--and the lives of their families--in the face of a series of daunting challenges.

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Inside Out and Back Again

by Thanhha Lai

No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, HÀ has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by...and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. HÀ and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, HÀ discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape...and the strength of her very own family.

This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

Newbery Honor Book

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

90 Miles to Havana

by Enrique Flores-Galbis

When Julian's parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it's not always clear how best to protect themselves.

90 Miles to Havana is a 2011 Pura Belpre Honor Book for Narrative and a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Drita, My Homegirl

by Jenny Lombard

A poignant story about the difficulties of leaving everything behind and the friendships that help you get through it.

Fleeing war-torn Kosovo, ten-year-old Drita and her family move to America with the dream of living a typical American life. But with this hope comes the struggle to adapt and fit in. How can Drita find her place at school and in her new neighborhood when she doesn?t speak any English?

Meanwhile, Maxie and her group of fourth-grade friends are popular in their class, and make an effort to ignore Drita. So when their teacher puts Maxie and Drita together for a class project, things get off to a rocky start.

But sometimes, when you least expect it, friendship can bloom and overcome even a vast cultural divide. .

Date Added: 04/03/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Weedflower

by Cynthia Kadohata

Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to.

That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States! As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new "home."

Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they'd been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend...if he can ever stop being angry about the fact that the internment camp is on his tribe's land.

With searing insight and clarity, Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Kadohata explores an important and painful topic through the eyes of a young girl who yearns to belong. Weedflower is the story of the rewards and challenges of a friendship across the racial divide, as well as the based-on-real-life story of how the meeting of Japanese Americans and Native Americans changed the future of both.

Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winner

Date Added: 02/23/2018


Category: Middle Grade

I Lived on Butterfly Hill

by Marjorie Agosin and Lee White

An eleven-year-old's world is upended by political turmoil in this searing novel from an award-winning poet, based on true events in Chile.Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile--until the time comes when even Celeste, with her head in the clouds, can't deny the political unrest that is sweeping through the country. Warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates disappear from class without a word. Celeste doesn't quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore. The country has been taken over by a government that declares artists, protestors, and anyone who helps the needy to be considered "subversive" and dangerous to Chile's future. So Celeste's parents--her educated, generous, kind parents--must go into hiding before they, too, "disappear." To protect their daughter, they send her to America. As Celeste adapts to her new life in Maine, she never stops dreaming of Chile. But even after democracy is restored to her home country, questions remain: Will her parents reemerge from hiding? Will she ever be truly safe again? Accented with interior artwork, steeped in the history of Pinochet's catastrophic takeover of Chile, and based on many true events, this multicultural ode to the power of revolution, words, and love is both indelibly brave and heartwrenchingly graceful.

Winner of the Pura Belpre Medal

Date Added: 02/23/2018


Category: Middle Grade

Shooting Kabul

by N. H. Senzai

Fadi never imagined he'd start middle school in Fremont, California, thousands of miles from home in Kabul--and half a world away from his missing six-year-old sister, Mariam. Adjusting to life in the United States isn't easy for Fadi's family, and as the events of September 11 unfold, the prospects of locating Mariam in war-torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize of a trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home? Based in part on Ms. Senzai's husband's own experience fleeing Soviet-controlled Afghanistan in 1979, Shooting Kabul is a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance.s a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance.

Date Added: 02/23/2018


Category: Middle Grade

The Day of the Pelican

by Katherine Paterson

2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

Meli Lleshi is positive that her drawing of her teacher with his pelican nose started it all. The Lleshis are Albanians living in Kosovo, a country trying to fight off Serbian oppressors, and suddenly they are homeless refugees. Old and young alike, they find their courage tested by hunger, illness, the long, arduous journey, and danger on every side. Then, unexpectedly, they are brought to America by a church group and begin a new life in a small Vermont town. The events of 9/11 bring more challenges for this Muslim family--but this country is their home now and there can be no turning back.A compassionate, powerful novel by a master storyteller.

Date Added: 02/23/2018


Category: Middle Grade

The Red Pencil

by Shane W. Evans and Andrea Davis Pinkney

"Amira, look at me," Muma insists. She collects both my hands in hers. "The Janjaweed attack without warning. If ever they come-- run."

Finally, Amira is twelve. Old enough to wear a toob, old enough for new responsibilities. And maybe old enough to go to school in Nyala-- Amira's one true dream.

But life in her peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when the Janjaweed arrive. The terrifying attackers ravage the town and unleash unspeakable horrors. After she loses nearly everything, Amira needs to dig deep within herself to find the strength to make the long journey-- on foot-- to safety at a refugee camp. Her days are tough at the camp, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind-- and all kinds of possibilities.

New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney's powerful verse and Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist Shane W. Evans's breathtaking illustrations combine to tell an inspiring tale of one girl's triumph against all odds.

Date Added: 08/07/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Serafina's Promise

by Ann E. Burg

A luminous novel in verse from the author of the Jefferson Cup award winner ALL THE BROKEN PIECES. 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, many obstacles stand in Serafina's way-- little money, never-ending chores, 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. At once heartbreaking and hopeful, this exquisitely crafted story will leave a lasting impression on your heart.

Date Added: 08/07/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Home of the Brave

by Katherine Applegate

Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth-grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner. In the form of a poem, and includes an author's note, questions for the author, a reader's guide, the historical context, discussion questions, and an action guide.

Date Added: 08/07/2017


Category: Middle Grade

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan 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.

Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winner

Date Added: 08/07/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Refugee

by Alan Gratz

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers -- from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

Alan Gratz delivers an action-packed novel that tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.

A New York Times Bestseller

Date Added: 08/07/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Of Beetles and Angels

by Mawi Asgedom

Read the story that has inspired millionsThe desert, I remember. The shrieking hyenas, I remember....

I remember playing soccer with rocks, and a strange man telling me and my brother Tewolde that we had to go on a trip and Tewolde refusing to go. The man took out a piece of gum and Tewolde happily traded it for his homeland....

So begins the remarkable true story of a young boy's journey from civil war in east Africa to a refugee camp in Sudan, to a childhood on welfare in an affluent American suburb, and eventually to a full-tuition scholarship at Harvard University.

Following his father's advice to "treat all people-even the most unsightly beetles-as though they were angels sent from heaven," Mawi overcomes the challenges of language barriers, cultural differences, racial prejudice, and financial disadvantage to build a fulfilling, successful life for himself in his new home.

Of Beetles and Angels is at once a harrowing survival story and a compelling examination of the refugee experience. With hundreds of thousands of copies sold since its initial publication, the unforgettable memoir continues to touch and inspire readers. This special fifteenth anniversary edition features bonus materials, including a new introduction and afterword by the author.

Date Added: 06/18/2018


Category: Young Adult

In the Sea There Are Crocodiles

by Fabio Geda

When ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari's small village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule in early 2000, his mother shepherds the boy across the border into Pakistan but has to leave him there all alone to fend for himself.

Thus begins Enaiat's remarkable and often punish­ing five-year ordeal, which takes him through Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen. Along the way, Enaiat endures the crippling physical and emotional agony of dangerous border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days on end or being stuffed into the false bottom of a truck.

But not every­one is as resourceful, resilient, or lucky as Enaiat, and there are many heart-wrenching casualties along the way. Based on Enaiat's close collaboration with Italian novelist Fabio Geda and expertly rendered in English by an award-winning translator, this novel reconstructs the young boy's memories, perfectly preserving the childlike perspective and rhythms of an intimate oral history.

Told with humor and humanity, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles brilliantly captures Enaiat's moving and engaging voice and lends urgency to an epic story of hope and survival.

Date Added: 06/18/2018


Category: Young Adult

Border Child

by Michel Stone

For Héctor and Lilia, pursuit of the American Dream became every parent's worst fear when their infant daughter vanished as they crossed from Mexico to the United States—now they must try to get her back. With great empathy and a keen awareness of current events, Michel Stone delivers a novel of surpassing sensitivity and heart.

Young lovers Héctor and Lilia dreamed of a brighter future for their family in the United States. Héctor left Mexico first, to secure work and housing, but when Lilia, desperate to be with Héctor, impetuously crossed the border with their infant daughter, Alejandra, mother and child were separated. Alejandra disappeared. Now, four years later, the family has a chance to reunite, but the trauma of the past may well be permanent.

Back in their sleepy hometown of Oaxaca, the couple enjoys a semblance of normal life, with a toddler son and another baby on the way. Then they receive an unexpected tip that might lead them to Alejandra, and both agree they must seize this chance, whatever the cost.

Working increasingly illegal jobs to earn money for his journey north, Héctor seeks more information about his long-absent daughter. Meanwhile, a bedridden Lilia awaits the birth of their third child, but cannot keep herself from reliving the worst mistakes of her past.

In luminous, compassionate prose, Michel Stone drops readers into the whirlwind of the contemporary immigrant experience, where a marriage is strained to the breaking point by the consequences of wanting more for the next generation.

Date Added: 05/03/2018


Category: Young Adult

The Distance Between Us

by Reyna Grande

Mago pointed to a spot on the dirt floor and reminded me that my umbilical cord was buried there. "That way," Mami told the midwife, "no matter where life takes her, she won't ever forget where she came from." Then Mago touched my belly button . . . She said that my umbilical cord was like a ribbon that connected me to Mami. She said, "It doesn't matter that there's a distance btween us now. That cord is there forever."

When Reyna Grande's father leaves his wife and three children behind in a village in Mexico to make the dangerous trek across the border to the United States, he promises he will soon return from "El Otro Lado" (The Other Side) with enough money to build them a dream house where they can all live together. His promises become harder to believe as months turn into years.

When he summons his wife to join him, Reyna and her siblings are deposited in the already overburdened household of their stern, unsmiling grandmother. The three siblings are forced to look out for themselves; in childish games they find a way to forget the pain of abandonment and learn to solve very adult problems. When their mother at last returns, the reunion sets the stage for a dramatic new chapter in Reyna's young life: her own journey to "El Otro Lado" to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.

In this extraordinary memoir, award-winning writer Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years, capturing all the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. Elated when she feels the glow of her father's love and approval, Reyna knows that at any moment he might turn angry or violent. Only in books and music and her rich imaginary life does she find solace, a momentary refuge from a world in which every place feels like "El Otro Lado."

The Distance Between Us captures one girl's passage from childhood to adolescence and beyond. A funny, heartbreaking, lyrical story, it reminds us that the joys and sorrows of childhood are always with us, invisible to the eye but imprinted on the heart, forever calling out to us of those places we first called home.

Date Added: 05/03/2018


Category: Young Adult


Showing 1 through 25 of 51 results