Books about refugees and asylum seekers
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a moving tale of a refugee family told in graphic novel style and so appealing to a wide range of younger readers.
Edited by Tony Bradman
Told through the eyes of children, this moving collection of short stories focuses on the experiences of asylum seekers from all over the world.
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
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.
The Bucket List
When they reach a safe place, a little boy must remember that although children call him Refugee, that is not his real name. Clear, moving illustrations complement this simple, touching book that explains the refugee crisis in an accessible way.
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.
Ayesha and her young brothers find themselves refugees in a bombed out flat in Beirut with only an elderly grandmother to care for them.
Anne Booth, Illustrated by Sam Usher
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.
Sir 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.
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
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.
Allen and Unwin
This chilling picture book about prejudice, intolerance and the plight of refugees will spark classroom discussions with older readers.
Flying Eye Books
What is it like to leave everything behind and travel somewhere strange? This incredibly poignant story introduces the concept of refugees with straightforward language, tackling this difficult subject with truth, clarity and strikingly beautiful illustrations.
Ben Morley, Illustrator: Carl Pearce
This story explores the vibrancy and diversity of city life through gritty, yet child-friendly illustrations that are beautifully atmospheric and evocative.
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.