Children are looking for answers to their questions about Ukraine’s current situation. In addition, they may have further questions about what is happening to evacuees/refugees from Aleppo to Myanmar, from Syria to Mali, and worldwide.
I recommend using these picture books about refugees to create an open dialogue that helps kids process their emotions, understand the difference between “refugee” vs. “evacuee,” and confront bias regarding how people react when refugees are people of color.
• Picture Books About Refugees •
Read Out Loud – LOST AND FOUND CAT
What would you do if your family cat was lost? How far would you go to find her? Go on an unforgettable journey when you read LOST AND FOUND CAT: THE TRUE STORY OF KUNKUSH’S INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. On this episode charismatic author and photographer Doug Kuntz tells you the true story of Kunkush the lost cat, and how her family did everything in their power to bring her back home! Do you have a pet cat that you would go on a journey with? Share a picture with us and tell us why you love your cat!
JOSEPH’S BIG RIDE
A refugee boy’s determination to ride a bicycle leads to an unexpected friendship. Joseph wants only one thing: to ride a bike. In the refugee camp where he lives, Joseph helps one of the older boys fix his bike, but he’s too small to ride it.
Joseph and his mother travel to America, where everything is strange and new. One day, he spots a red bike that seems just right for him! It belongs to a girl with a whoosh of curly hair. When Whoosh crashes her bike, Joseph offers to fix it. His big chance has finally come, except that Joseph doesn’t know how to ride! He crashes a few times, picks himself up, and tries again, until suddenly, with a shout of triumph, he’s riding the bike.
Inspired by the author’s interviews with refugee children from Sudan, this gentle story evokes the experience of a new immigrant. Vibrantly colorful paintings bring a warm and humorous portrait of friendship and diversity to life.
JOSEPH’S BIG RIDE Written by Terry Farish and Illustrated by Ken Daley
Published by Annick Press
As a big storm approaches, two strangers arrive in the forest. All the animal families, safe in their homes, are worried. They wonder, “What are they doing there? What do they want?” So, as the pair knocks at the door of one home after another asking for shelter, all the animals turn them away, leaving them to fend for themselves.
But then an accident suddenly forces the fox family out into the snow and the wind, and the foxes find they must ask these outsiders for help. Will they find it in their hearts to give it?Céline Claire’s heartwarming picture book story delivers a timeless and timely message about the importance of kindness and generosity.
With simple and evocative language, it explores how even small gestures can make a big difference to the strangers or outsiders in a community. Artist Qin Leng uses a warm, soft palette in her ink and watercolor illustrations creating a charming and inviting visual narrative that is perfect for young children.
This book provides a wonderful opportunity for discussions about being welcoming and helping others in need, including how children can put this into practice by reaching out to the “new kid” or the one who seems different. It also works well for character education lessons on kindness, caring and empathy.
SHELTER Written by Céline Claire
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Published by Kids Can Press
THE COLOR OF HOME
This remarkably moving picture book follows first-grader Hassan through his first few days at school. Hassan has only recently arrived in the United States after he and his family were forced to flee Somalia, and he deeply misses the colorful landscape of his former home in Africa.But with the help of his parents, an understanding teacher, and a school art project, Hassan finds that by painting a picture of his old home and sharing his story, his homesickness and the trauma of leaving a war-torn country are lessened. And he finds that there are many things to like about his new home in America.The colorful, impressionistic illustrations are a perfect complement to the wonderful text by Mary Hoffman, author of the highly acclaimed Amazing Grace. Together art and text make this poignant story accessible and affecting for a young audience.
THE COLOR OF HOME by Mary Hoffman
Published by Phyllis Fogelman Books
Rama and her family, are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape the ravages of the civil war raging ever closer to their home
With only what they can carry on their backs, Rama and her mother, father, grandfather and brother, Sami, set out to walk to freedom in Europe. This unique picture book was inspired by the stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, discovered by chance by Canadian children’s writer Margriet Ruurs. The author was immediately impressed by the strong narrative quality of Mr. Badr’s work, and, using many of Mr. Badr’s already-created pieces, she set out to create a story about the Syrian refugee crisis.
This book as dual-language (English and Arabic).
Illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr
Translated by Falah Raheem
Published by Orca Book Publishers
THE LOTUS SEED
When she is forced to leave Vietnam, a young girl brings a lotus seed with her to America in remembrance of her homeland. Exquisite artwork fuses with a compelling narrative–a concise endnote places the story effectively within a historical context–to produce a moving and polished offering.
THE LOTUS SEED by Sherry Garland
Illustrated by Tatsuro Kiuchi
Published by Clarion Books
Bethany Edwards is an elementary educator as well as a reading and literacy
specialist. On Biracial Bookworms, she focuses on multiracial and multicultural resources for teaching literacy skills using reading, travel, and learning multiple languages. Additionally, she offers online and self-paced courses for parents and caregivers on Biracial Bookworms Academy.
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