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Books about refugees and asylum seekers

Jackdaw Summer

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

    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

    Bessora & Barroux, Translated by Sarah Ardizzone
    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

    Anne Booth, Illustrated by Sam Usher
    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

    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

    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

    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

    Fabio Geda Translated by Howard Curtis
    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

    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

    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

    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

    Gill Lewis, Illustrated by Jo Weaver
    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 is an unusual and memorable book.

  • A Dangerous Crossing

    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 reading list.

  • The Silence Seeker

    Ben Morley, Illustrator: Carl Pearce
    Tamarind

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

  • Shadow

    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.

  • Now is the Time for Running

    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.