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Books about refugees and asylum seekers (teens)

Secrets in the Fire

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

These books are mainly aimed at teenagers.

Check out our list for younger children

Check out our list for older children

  • Hidden

    Author: Miriam Halahmy

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Hidden

    Author: Miriam Halahmy

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 10+

    Alix doesn’t want any trouble with the local bullies. But then she defends Samir, a boy who has recently joined their school – and…

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  • Illegal

    Author: Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin and Illustrator: Giovanni Rigano

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Illegal

    Author: Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin and Illustrator: Giovanni Rigano

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 10+

    Illegal tells the story of Ebo, a 12-year-old boy who flees grinding poverty, zero opportunities and a drunken uncle in his s…

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  • Inheritance

    Author: Balli Kaur Jaswal

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Inheritance

    Author: Balli Kaur Jaswal

    Interest level: 14+

    Reading age: 10+

    As a newly-independent Singapore struggles to establish its own identity and economic stability, a single father in the Punjabi Si…

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  • The Other Side of Truth

    Author: Beverley Naidoo

    Interest level: 11-16

    Reading age: 10+

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  • The Other Side of Truth

    Author: Beverley Naidoo

    Interest level: 11-16

    Reading age: 10+

    The family knew that Papa’s journalism might put them at risk. But now Mama is dead, their passports are seized and Papa must try …

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  • Salt to the Sea

    Author: Ruta Sepetys

    Interest level: 15+

    Reading age: 15+

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  • Salt to the Sea

    Author: Ruta Sepetys

    Interest level: 15+

    Reading age: 15+

    A group of children flee the war in Germany, each with a secret to hide and a painful past to bear. This book is brilliantly writt…

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  • Asylum

    Author: Rachel Anderson

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • Asylum

    Author: Rachel Anderson

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    Driven by drought, starvation and conflict, Rosa and Sunday have both undertaken perilous journeys across continents – only …

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  • I am Malala

    Author: Malala Yousafzai

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

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  • I am Malala

    Author: Malala Yousafzai

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 13+

    This is the real life story of one of the most incredible and inspirational young people in the world. Reading this book might jus…

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  • If You Were Me

    Author: Sam Hepburn

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 10+

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  • If You Were Me

    Author: Sam Hepburn

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 10+

    Complex plotting, thoughtful characterisation and terrifying insights into a world of organised crime will keep readers on the edg…

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  • One Crow Alone

    Author: Sophie Crockett

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • One Crow Alone

    Author: Sophie Crockett

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 11+

    In the midst of a seemingly never-ending winter, Magda gradually loses all the things that give her life direction and meaning.

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  • Secrets in the Fire

    Author: Henning Mankell Translator: Anne Stuksrud

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 12+

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  • Secrets in the Fire

    Author: Henning Mankell Translator: Anne Stuksrud

    Interest level: 13+

    Reading age: 12+

    Sofia and her family flee their Mozambique village after her father is killed by bandits. They attempt to start afresh, but the da…

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  • Never Fall Down

    Author: Patricia McCormick

    Interest level: 15+

    Reading age: 14+

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  • Never Fall Down

    Author: Patricia McCormick

    Interest level: 15+

    Reading age: 14+

    Growing up in Cambodia, Arn's life is one of carefree adventure - until the Khumer Rouge come to power and Arn's world is turned u…

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  • Looking at the Stars

    Author: Jo Cotterill

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

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  • Looking at the Stars

    Author: Jo Cotterill

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

    Amina is headstrong and outspoken - traits seen as rebellion in the dictatorship she lives in. Ending up in an aid camp, her story…

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