Talking to kids about the refugee crisis

The Syrian refugee crises has been in heavy rotation on the news and even for adults the differences in migration, immigration and refugee status can be hard to comprehend. Below are great children books that give a narrative voice to children living in the chaos a refugee crisis creates. 


Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams, follows two girls in a Pakistani refugee camp having to share  a pair of sandals and the friendship that is created because of this. While the friendship blossoms they discuss and cope with the losses they have endured while fleeing Afghanistan. Their is an author's note furthering detailing the refugees, particularly children, along the Afghan-Pakistan border. 

Middle School:

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkey details Amira in Sudan who wants to learn but is prevented because of her gender. She receives hope that at 12 she may actually be able to attend school but with the invasion of the Janjaweed in her village her family is forced to flee to a refugee camp. The story is written in poetic verse, a great book for beginning or intermediate chapter readers.  

High School:

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb is great for high schoolers. A 15 year old girl whose neighborhood in Pakistan was taken by the Taliban refused to give up her education was shot because of her vocal stance. Not only discusses global terrorism but the importance and power teens can have. 

The Tattooed Solider by Hector Tobor, this book chronicles the aftermath of the Guatemalan civil war. It follows two men who left Guatemala for America, specifically Los Angeles. It is told from their two perspectives, the guerrilla solider and the man whose family died at the hands of the solider.  Its backdrop is the L.A. Riots of the 90's. Please note it has graphic scenes.