8 Best Books About Refugees Update 05/2022

It’s a good idea to read books. These experiences widen our horizons, increase our empathy for others, and help us develop a deeper awareness of the world around us. Even though we see refugee tales on the news almost every day, they are generally presented in an impersonal way, such as a woman carrying her infant in her arms or a huge group of people strolling together.

For this year’s National Book Lovers Day, we’ve compiled a list of six novels that will give you a glimpse into the lives and experiences of refugees throughout the globe. With almost one percent of the world’s population forced to flee their homes, we hope these books will give you a glimpse into the life of refugees and become an important addition to your library.

We are Displace by Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, tells the tales of nine young girls who have been forced to flee their homes because of the Taliban’s control in Pakistan, including those from Colombia, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This important book tells the stories of the young women whose lives have been upended by the alarming rise in the number of people displaced because of war or natural disasters.

The Girl who Smile Beads by Clemantine Wamariya

Her co-author Elizabeth Weil tells the story of Clemantine Wamariya, who fled the Rwandan genocide in 1994, in this poignant and poignant memoir. For six years, Clemantine and her sister Claire were separated from their parents and forced to flee through seven African nations, where they were sickened and forced to live in refugee camps. It’s a sobering reminder of the human toll conflict exacts.

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

In 1939, Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet, hired a French cargo ship, the Winnipeg, to transport 2,200 Spanish Civil War refugees to safety. Isabel Allende’s newest book, A Long Petal of the Sea, was inspired by this historical occurrence. The plot revolves on Viktor and Roser, two immigrants whose arranged marriage blossoms into a passionate relationship.

As a former Venezuelan immigrant, Allende understands the significance of empathizing with refugees and exhorts her audience to do the same. The House of Spirits and In the Midst of Winter, both of which focus on the difficulties experienced by refugees and immigrants in other nations, are other noteworthy works by this talented author.

What Is the What by Dave Eggers

Valentino Achak Deng, a seven-year-old boy who fled the Sudanese civil war with thousands of other unaccompanied children known as the Lost Boys of Sudan and trekked hundreds of kilometers on foot until he reached safety in Ethiopia and then Kenya, tells his terrible experience in What is the What. New challenges arose when he adjusted to life in the United States in 2001, when he was finally allowed to return. Readers are urged to consider the difficulties of adjusting to a new identity, culture and community in this novel by Dave Eggers.

While the Earth Sleeps We Travel by Ahmed M. Badr

He went throughout the globe in 2018 to interview and document the stories of young refugees in camps as well as those who had just been resettled back into their communities after fleeing their homelands. A group of child voices, including Badr’s own, examine the notion of “home” and the complications of relocation in this book.

Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour (ages 4-8)

In Lubna and the Pebble, a little girl finds solace in a pebble she finds on the seashore when she first arrives at her new home in a refugee camp. Lubna will have to decide whether she can share her small, solid buddy, Amir, with him when he comes to the camp alone and afraid. Wendy Meddour’s exquisite pictures transport us into a heartwarming tale of friendship and perseverance.

The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis by Patrick Kingsley (2015)

“Refugee crisis” is a term I dislike, yet The New Odyssey is a novel about the massive influx of asylum seekers and refugees into European countries that has been dubbed “the greatest arrivals of migrants since World War II.” The New Odyssey is set mostly in Europe. In The New Odyssey, Patrick Kingsley, the Guardian’s migration reporter, chronicles his one-year trip through 17 nations to document the adventures of asylum seekers and refugees as they make their way to Europe.

Kingsley did an excellent job of describing various migratory routes and modes of transportation, such as maritime routes in the Mediterranean, desert routes across the Sahara, and mountain routes… When we just heard about these adventures in the news or on social media, he brings them to life in vivid detail and explains why this is the case:
‘Why do we keep taking the water route?’ asks one passenger. Abu Jana wants to know more. Why? “Because we believe that God’s kindness is greater than any human’s.”

The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria by Samar Yazbek (2016)

Another student mentioned to me that there were not enough works about female refugees and humanitarian workers in “refugee literature” during my studies for an M.A. in Humanitarian Action. And I recall recommending Samar Yazbek’s The Crossing, a book written by a Syrian journalist and writer who fled Syria in search of asylum and returned home over a tiny gap in the barrier along the Syrian-Turkish border. She did it in order to bring attention to the current horrors occurring in Syria.

On Syria’s political landscape, Yazbek sheds light on a wide range of topics, from the advent of dictatorship to the outbreak of civil war. An realistic picture of the current situation in Syria and the reasons why so many Syrians have been fleeing and seeking refuge throughout the globe may be gained from this non-fiction text. People’s experiences in a hazardous environment, children’s concerns, life in bunkers and damaged buildings and the terror of snipers are all depicted by the writer in a brilliant way. In my opinion, it’s the most compelling portrayal of Syria’s current situation.

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