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Topic: Refugees & Immigration KS2

Refugees and Immigration Booklist (KS2)

We’ve put together a list of recommended texts for primary school aged children on the topic of refugees and immigration. For this community booklist, we asked our community of primary teachers, TAs, children’s authors, librarians and book lovers to nominate their top recommended texts that explore the topic of immigration and the refugee experience.
NB: This booklist is aimed at KS2 (ages 7-11). If you are looking for KS1 books for this topic, we have a separate booklist here.

Picturebook

In an inspiring pairing, Amy Hest and P.J. Lynch create an unforgettable tribute to the immigrant experience.

Jessie lives with her grandmother in a poor village in the valleys of eastern Europe. When, to everyone’s surprise, young Jessie is chosen by the village rabbi to travel to America, and to leave her grandmother behind, they both feel their hearts will break.

Award-winning author Amy Hest brings her sure and inspired touch to the story of our immigrant heritage as she follows Jessie across the ocean to a new life–and a new love–in America.

Chapter book

From the award-winning author of Millions comes a story of friendship in the midst of adversity. Winner of the 2012 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, this magical and poignant book is enriched by stunning and atmospheric Polaroid photos.

Two refugee brothers from Mongolia are determined to fit in with their Liverpool schoolmates, but bring so much of Mongolia to Bootle that their new friend and guide, Julie, is hard-pressed to know truth from fantasy. Told with the humour, warmth and brilliance of detail which characterizes Frank Cottrell Boyce’s writing, readers will be transported from the streets of Liverpool to the steppe of Mongolia.

Picturebook

Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy city in this dazzling wordless picture book. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games and gestures are puzzling. The boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident child he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps towards discovering joy in his new world. A poignant and affirming view of the immigrant experience.

Non-fiction

What does it mean for people to have to leave their homes, and what happens when they seek entry to another country?
This book explores the history of refugees and migration around the world and the effects on people of never-ending war and conflict. It compares the effects on society of diversity and interculturalism with historical attempts to create a racially ‘pure’ culture. It takes an international perspective, and offers a range of views from people who have personal experience of migration, including the campaigners Meltem Avcil and Muzoon Almellehan, the comedian and actor Omid Djalili and the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Aimed at young people aged 10 and upwards, the book encourages readers to think for themselves about the issues involved. There is also a role-play activity asking readers to imagine themselves in the situation of having to decide whether to leave their homes and seek refuge in a new country.

Chapter book

Sam’s team are edging closer to the bottom of the league this season and team captain Jordan’s bad attitude isn’t helping anyone. When Sam spots Hasan playing on the refugee team, he can see that Hasan’s got talent and invites him along to practice. Hasan and his friend Faisal prove to be exactly what the team need – but Jordan’s not going to accept his new teammates so easily. Can Sam get the boys to pull together and win?

Another winning combo of fact and fiction from reluctant reader favourite and footie king Alan Gibbons.

Chapter book

I just knew we were going to be friends. Don’t ask me to explain why. I can’t. But i just knew.’

Jaz has found the best way to make friends with new girl Nadima, who doesn’t speak any English – by offering her a chocolate bar. Nadima grins and offers back some Turkish Delight, the ice is broken, and a special friendship begins …

Jaz is outgoing, rebellious, gumptious and a little bit bolshy – but it doesn’t stop her from finding it hard that she doesn’t have a best friend at school any more. Not since Lily went off with Kara … She’s not one to get down about things, though – and things start to look up when Nadima comes into their classroom.

Before long the girls are firm friends, even when Nadima, recently arrived from Syria, can’t speak much English. The path of true friendship doesn’t run smooth, though … Jaz, ever the entrepreneur, cooks up a plan to sell Turkish Delight at school, with disastrous results. A drama project with Nadima about family history proves impossible to manage. And Charity Challenge Week puts the icing on the cake as Jaz puts every foot wrong possible.

Can she find a way to put things right, and restore the wonderful and unique friendship that she has with Nadima?

In a story of friendship, family and entrepreneurial wizardry, Cas Lester deftly navigates the trials and tribulations of girlhood, and examines with the lightest of touches and gentle humour the thorny and compelling issues of integration, belonging and identity.

Chapter book

Join 12-year-old Tash and her best friend Sam in a story of adventure, survival and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India. Filled with friendship, love and courage, this young girl’s thrilling journey to save her parents is an ideal read for children aged 9-12.

There are two words that are banned in Tibet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them. ‘Dalai Lama.’

Tash has to follow many rules to survive in Tibet, a country occupied by Chinese soldiers. But when a man sets himself on fire in protest and soldiers seize Tash’s parents, she and her best friend Sam must break the rules. They are determined to escape Tibet – and seek the help of the Dalai Lama himself in India.

And so, with a backpack of Tash’s father’s mysterious papers and two trusty yaks by their side, their extraordinary journey across the mountains begins.

Graphic Novel

Azzi and her parents are in danger. They have to leave their home and escape to another country on a frightening journey by car and boat. In the new country they must learn to speak a new language, find a new home and Azzi must start a new school. With a kind helper at the school, Azzi begins to learn English and understand that she is not the only one who has had to flee her home. She makes a new friend, and with courage and resourcefulness, begins to adapt to her new life. But Grandma has been left behind and Azzi misses her more than anything. Will Azzi ever see her grandma again? Drawing on her own experience of working among refugee families, renowned author and illustrator Sarah Garland tells, with tenderness and humour, an exciting adventure story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Endorsed by Amnesty International.

Picturebook

With haunting echoes of the current refugee crisis this beautifully illustrated book explores the unimaginable decisions made as a family leave their home and everything they know to escape the turmoil and tragedy brought by war. This book will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

From the author: The Journey is actually a story about many journeys, and it began with the story of two girls I met in a refugee center in Italy. After meeting them I realized that behind their journey lay something very powerful. So I began collecting more stories of migration and interviewing many people from many different countries. A few months later, in September 2014, when I started studying a Master of Arts in Illustration at the Academy of Lucerne, I knew I wanted to create a book about these true stories. Almost every day on the news we hear the terms “migrants” and “refugees” but we rarely ever speak to or hear the personal journeys that they have had to take. This book is a collage of all those personal stories and the incredible strength of the people within them.

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