Books about refugees and asylum seekers

Refugee Week takes place 15-25 June 2017.


Since asylum can be a confusing issue for children (and even adults), here are some books that explore what it really means to flee your home and have to start your life over.

  • Jackdaw Summer

    by David Almond
    Hodder Children's Books
    Fate leads Liam to find an abandoned baby and as a result his life becomes entwined with that of Oliver, an African boy seeking asylum and Crystal, an emotionally damaged girl.
  • Alpha: Abidjan to Gare du Nord

    by Bessora & Barroux
    The Bucket List
    A powerful, terrible and essential story, Alpha should be required reading for everyone. The graphic novel highlights the terror and hopelessness experienced by someone forced to leave their own country in search of a future.
  • Refuge

    by Anne Booth
    Nosy Crow
    This beautiful book follows Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus as they flee into Egypt as refugees. The gorgeous drawings and Booth's sparse, poetic words make this a Christmas book to treasure.
  • Give Me Shelter

    by Edited by Tony Bradman
    Frances Lincoln
    Told through the eyes of children, this moving collection of short stories focuses on the experiences of asylum seekers from all over the world.
  • The Bone Sparrow

    by Zana Fraillon
    Orion Children’s Books
    Focusing on a friendship between two young refugees, The Bone Sparrow is one of those rare, special books that will break your heart with its honesty and beauty - but is ultimately hopeful and uplifting.
  • Azzi in Between

    by Sarah Garland
    Frances Lincoln
    This is a moving tale of a refugee family told in graphic novel style and so appealing to a wide range of younger readers.
  • In The Sea There Are Crocodiles

    by Fabio Geda
    David Fickling Books
    First published in Italian last year, the story of Enaiatollah Akbari's journey from Afghanistan to Italy has now been translated into English
  • The Island

    by Armin Greder
    Allen and Unwin
    This chilling picture book about prejudice, intolerance and the plight of refugees will spark classroom discussions with older readers.
  • Oranges in No Man's Land

    by Elizabeth Laird
    Pan Macmillan
    Ayesha and her young brothers find themselves refugees in a bombed out flat in Beirut with only an elderly grandmother to care for them.
  • Welcome to Nowhere

    by Elizabeth Laird
    Pan Macmillan
    Omar doesn't know much about politics, nor does he care, however, when his older brother, Musa, throws his lot in with the student opposition to the government, everything changes.
  • A Story Like The Wind

    by Gill Lewis
    Oxford University Press
    Gill Lewis’s brief but beautiful story is rich in wonder, as well as being a timely reminder of the refugee crisis. Mixed with an exotic story of wild horses and a Dark Lord that rules a kingdom in peril, this...
  • A Dangerous Crossing

    by Jane Mitchell
    Little Island
    This heartbreaking story depicts the reality of fleeing war, as told by a 13-year-old boy. Not only is her story told with compassion and understanding, it is also a timely and vital read. Deserving of a place on every school...
  • The Silence Seeker

    by Ben Morley
    This story explores the vibrancy and diversity of city life through gritty, yet child-friendly illustrations that are beautifully atmospheric and evocative.
  • Shadow

    by Michael Morpurgo
    HarperCollins Children's Books
    This is a candid exploration of the injustices of war, at home and away, and an unflinching account of the treatment of asylum seekers.
  • The Arrival

    by Shaun Tan
    In this unusual book, we follow a young man as he packs his bags and leaves his family to go and start a new life in another country
  • Now is the Time for Running

    by Michael Williams
    Tamarind Books
    Deo's life is destroyed when government forces kill his family. Together with his brother Innocent, he flees his village in search of his father, encountering hardship and hostility along the way.