Today’s books are all about refugees, and two of them are written by refugees.
As many of you know, I have a special place in my heart for those who have been forced to leave their home countries because of war or other dangers.
In 2014, we lived in a refugee community in Ohio, and it changed our lives forever. Our neighbors were some of the sweetest, most generous, funniest, and funnest people we’ve ever known. And so so so so strong and brave.
I wrote an ebook about it, and if you leave a comment telling me you want a free copy, it’s yours.
Because I’m featuring 5 books today, I’ll just write about each of them briefly.
Inside Out and Back Again (by Thanhha Lai) is YA fiction (written as free verse) and based on the author’s childhood when she escaped from war in Vietnam. Because I live in Cambodia (Vietnam’s neighbor), the book was especially touching.
The thing that really stood out to me is how well the author conveys the fact that she was a brilliant, happy 10-year-old leaving a beloved, beautiful country. When she arrives in America and everything is strange and people think she’s dumb because she doesn’t speak the language, we know better. I think this is such an important story for all of us to read.
The Red Pencil (by Andrea Davis Pinkney) is also YA fiction and also written in free verse. It’s filled with drawings that look like they were drawn by 12-year-old Amira, a refugee from Southern Darfur, Africa. More than anything, Amira wants to read (and I want it so badly for her). Reading about her life and journey and struggles and strength is so inspiring. And she reminds me soooooo much of my young refugee friends from Somalia.
Outcasts United (by Warren St. John) is “the story of a refugee soccer team that changed a town” (adapted for young people). I really enjoyed it, because it reminded me of our refugee neighbors–boys and girls from all over the world coming together to play soccer. I loved those days when our three daughters were out there in the courtyard kicking a ball (and often yelling/fighting) with a great big global bunch of kids. This book opens your eyes to some of the hardships and the overcoming that is a part of all refugees’ stories.
(There’s an original adult version of the book that I haven’t read.)
Where the Wind Leads (by Vinh Chung) is the only “adult” selection on my list. It’s a good one. It’s the story of a family that flees Vietnam in the late 1970’s and goes on to hold a total of 21 university degrees by the time the book was written. Unbelievable. It’s an incredible true story with some pretty miraculous events.
If you have a book written by/about refugees you’d recommend, let me know!
(All links are Amazon Associate links.)