This holiday season, Carry the Future is happy to share some of our favorite books about refugees. Reading is a rich opportunity to educate and empower ourselves and children about the individuals that we serve. Reading provides an opportunity for children to see the world through a different lense and facilitates a safe space for an introduction to humanitarian issues and awareness.

Dreamers by YuYi Morales (Ages 3 +)

Dreamers is a celebration of what gifts migrants bring with them when they leave their homes. The author, who left her home in Mexico and came to the United States with her infant son, includes brief autobiographical essays about her own experiences. Caldecott Honor artist and six-time Pura Belpré winner YuYi Morales’ reminds readers through vibrant, symbolic illustrations that hopes, dreams, and passions accompany us wherever we roam.

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna (Ages 4+)

With vibrant illustrations, this empathetic story about a refugee family fleeing a war-torn homeland and confronting the adjustments migrants experience in a new life gently portrays childhood anxieties. When a young immigrant girl travels to a new country and starts a new school, she is accompanied by her Fear who tells her to be alone and afraid, growing bigger and bigger every day with questions like, “How can you hope to make new friends if you don’t understand their language?”  This book demonstrates the importance of sharing your Fear with others and that comfort may be identified in friendship. Written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna whose first book The Journey was endorsed by Amnesty International, this story teaches about healthy fear, not allowing fear to take control, and how fears may be managed.

What is a Refugee? by Elise Gravel (Ages 4 +)

This simply illustrated picture book is a straightforward introduction to what being a refugee means. Who are refugees? Why did they leave their country? The book uses bold, graphic illustrations and simple words to explain many reasons refugees flee. It ends with real quotes from child refugees and short bios of well known refugees. The book humanizes the refugee experience in a palatable way for very young children, explaining that refugees are like you and me.

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad (Ages 5-12)

This story begins on the first day of school for sisters Faizah and Asiya. For Asiya, it’s also her first day wearing hijab, in a stunning blue fabric. Not everyone sees the hijab as beautiful, and Faizah must process confusing, hurtful words. Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and S. K. Ali create a story about siblings, the beauty of the hijab, the strength of self confidence, and the power of being true to yourself. 

Refugees and Migrants (Children in Our World) by Ceri Roberts (Ages 6+)

Recommended for children six years and older, this picture book recognizes that “sometimes we hear words in the news and it is hard to understand what they mean and how they affect us.”

Award-winning illustrator Hanane Kai compliments Roberts’ words with beautiful pictures to discuss, what does it mean to be a refugee or migrant? Why would people leave their homes? Offering assurance and ways that children may help those affected, this colorful book, that is also part of a series, sensitively explains the refugee crisis. Other titles in the series include Poverty and Hunger, Racism and Intolerance, Global Conflict.

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Grades 1-4)

Families make unimaginable decisions when they leave their home to escape effects of war.  Author Francesca Sanna met two girls in a refugee center in Italy that inspired her to collect more stories of migration. After interviewing many people from a variety of countries, this collection of personal stories was created, emphasizing the strength within each human. A story about many journeys, Sanna creates a simple text narrated by an anonymous child in a not specific setting in terms of country or region. It chronicles the migration of a family whose lives are forever changed by war as they travel by car, trucks, bicycle, foot, boat and train—“the farther we go…the more we leave behind.” Books and storytelling provide emotional support to the family during their travels, the story ends with hope.

For other titles, see our World Changers Series

Click here to say YES to refugees!