Read a Book
There are a great variety of books written either by refugees or on the topic of refugees - including award-winning fiction.
The whole area of refugees can seem very complicated but the great thing about books is that we become caught up in the story and as we get to know the characters we start to understand just what the experience of being a refugee is really like.
17-29 June - all around the country!
Libraries across Ireland will be promoting refugee-related titles as part of our celebrations for World Refugee Day. This is our second year running this initiative. Watch this space for a list of the participating libraries!
Why not borrow one of these from your local library or buy one from your local book shop? Do you have a book club? Maybe you would consider adding one of these titles to the reading list.
The Kite Runner Author: Khaled Hosseini. Publisher: Bloomsbury. Now a major film, international bestseller, The Kite Runner is a deeply moving debut novel. The book tells the story of boyhood friendship cut across class boundaries. Their relationship is imaginatively told against the backdrop of social upheaval in Afghanistan.
What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng Author: Dave Eggers. Publisher: Penguin. Based on the real-life story of a young Sudanese refugee separated from his family during the Second Sudanese Civil War and forced to flee. We follow his life as he walks to Ethiopia with thousands of other orphans, encountering government soldiers, janjaweed-like militias, liberation rebels, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation, but also friendship and romance along the way.
Monsieur Linh and His Child Author: Philippe Claudel. Translator: Euan Cameron. Publisher: Maclehose. Monsieur Linh is an elderly refugee who arrives in France with other "boat people", clutching his infant grandchild - his sole reason for going on. He strikes up an unusual friendship with a man who does not speak the same language. “Holding out hope of dialogue between people sundered by history, the novel is a delicately sympathetic portrayal of trauma, as well as a poignant evocation of guilt – the survivor's and the soldier's.” – The Guardian
The Other Hand Author: Chris Cleave. Publisher: Sceptre. Little Bee, a 16-year-old Ibo girl from Nigeria has fled her country and is being held in a UK immigration detention centre. This is a powerful and sometimes shocking novel which explores complicated subjects in an accessible manner.
Goodbye Sarajevo: A True Story of Courage, Love & Survival Authors: Atka Reid & Hana Schofield. Publisher: Bloomsbury. Hana was 12 when her sister, Atka, placed her and sister, Nadia, on a refugee bus. Hana is forced to cope as a refugee in Croatia, far away from home and family, while Atka stayed on in Sarajevo to look after her 5 youngest siblings. “A sparky memoir of survival written by such driven and inspirational women.” - Independent.
Persepolis Author: Marjane Satrapi. Publisher: Pantheon Books. This graphic novel is about a young girl growing up in revolutionary Iran. Now a motion picture, this poignant, and often humorous, memoir tells the story of coming of age against the backdrop of life under a fundamentalist regime.
To download our complete list of adult's books click here.
Children and young people’s books:
In the Sea There Are Crocodiles Author: Fabio Geda. Publisher: Random House. Age: 10+. Geda recounts the true story of 10-year-old Enaiatollah’s 5-year ordeal from Afghanistan to Italy, where he seeks political asylum at age 15, having endured dangerous border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days or being stuffed into the false bottom of a truck. "A remarkable, heart-warming story of courage and endurance in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles... truly inspirational" -The Irish Examiner.
A Horse Called El Dorado Author: Kevin Kiely. Publisher: O’Brien Press. Age: 10+. “The hazardous journey from Colombia to Ireland: a story of dreams and our need to fulfill them.” - Robert Dunbar, The Irish Times. Bisto Honour Award Winner 2006. Shortlisted for Scottish Highland Children’s Book Awards (Scotland) 2006.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit Author: Judith Kerr. Publisher: HarperCollins. Age: 9+. In 1933 a young Jewish girl is forced to flee to Switzerland with her family as Hitler is elected to office. The story tells of their struggle to adapt to a new life as a refugee family.
The Silver Sword Author: Ian Serraillier. Publisher: Red Fox. Age: 9+. This is a story about how the Balicki family is torn apart by the Second World War, forced to flee from their home in Warsaw, Poland, and how they succeed in reuniting themselves in Switzerland at the end of the war.
Muktar and the Camels Author: Janet Graber. Illustrator: Scott Mack. Publisher: Henry Holt and co. Age: 4+. This book brings to life the plight of child refugees from Somalia and the challenges they face in adjusting to a new way of life away from home.
Four Feet, Two Sandals Author: KL. Williams. Illustrated by Doug Chayka Publisher: Eerdmans Books. Age: 4+. Lina and Feroza each find one sandal when relief workers bring clothes to the refugee camp where they live. The girls meet and decide that it is better to share the sandals than for each to wear only one. This book was inspired by a refugee girl who asked the authors why there were no books about children like her.
To download our complete list of children's books click here.