Today President Trump signed an executive order that halts the processing of refugees to the U.S. for four months. He cited national security concerns and said “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
That statement describes most refugees. Shutting them out is profoundly un-empathetic.
Reading about refugee experiences is the opposite. Reaching out to refugees in your community all the more so.
Here are two children’s books about refugees (one picture book, one middle grade). The characters in these books are Muslim, but not all refugees are Muslim. See here and here for some more lists of children’s books about refugees.
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publisher’s description: When relief workers bring used clothing to the refugee camp, everyone scrambles to grab whatever they can. Ten-year-old Lina is thrilled when she finds a sandal that fits her foot perfectly, until she sees that another girl has the matching shoe. But soon Lina and Feroza meet and decide that it is better to share the sandals than for each to wear only one. As the girls go about their routines washing clothes in the river, waiting in long lines for water, and watching for their names to appear on the list to go to America the sandals remind them that friendship is what is most important. Four Feet, Two Sandals was inspired by a refugee girl who asked the authors why there were no books about children like her. With warm colors and sensitive brush strokes, this book portrays the strength, courage, and hope of refugees around the world, whose daily existence is marked by uncertainty and fear.
My review: When a relief truck delivers clothing to a refugee camp in Pakistan, Lina and Feroza each find one yellow sandal. The two girls share the sandals, along with their daily chores, memories of lost family members, and hopes for a new home. After Lina and her mother get word they will be resettled in America, the girls decide what will happen to the sandals, but the future of their friendship (and lives) remains unknown.
This touching story opens a window onto life in a refugee camp in a heartfelt, non-didactic way, as well as speaking to the meaning of friendship. Timely and timeless.
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
RELATED: 2 Picture Books about Welcoming All People (and Pets)
4 thoughts on “Muslims in Kidlit Friday: Refugee experiences”
Great choices. I love the messages in these books. We need more books about refugees. Am reviewing a YA biography about a teen refugee soon — tough story to read, but important.
What’s the name of the biography?
I’ve just started reading The Red Pencil this week. It’s so important to read about a variety of American experiences, including immigrant and refugee voices especially.
Yes – for kids and adults!