As I said in my previous post, I am heartbroken for and inspired by the people of Ukraine. There is so much violence and death right now, and so many people are having to flee for safer places. But their fighting spirit and resilience are incredible.
Recently, I read two books for young people about having to flee their homes and homelands because of war. Mali Under the Night Sky: A Lao Story of Home, written and illustrated by Youme Landowne, is a picture book and the true story of a five-year-old girl whose family had to flee the civil war in Laos. They left their home under cover of night, and the little girl carried only her memories with her. She has shared those memories over the years with many people across the world. It’s a lovely little book, and one that can help with discussions with young children about the difficulties of being a refugee. Certainly a timely discussion to have right now.
The other book I read on the struggle of refugees was Katherine Applegate’s young adult book called Home of the Brave. It is the story of a refugee boy fleeing the brutal war in the Sudan. His father and brother have been killed and his mother is missing. His aunt and cousin, earlier refugees from the Sudan to the United States, welcome him to their home in Minnesota. He arrives in the middle of winter, and his culture shock is mind boggling. He has never seen snow nor felt the deep cold of a Minnesota winter. He is heartbroken over the loss of his family and especially traumatized by not knowing whether or not his mother is alive. He starts school right way and struggles with the language, the loneliness, the discrimination, and the cold. But he is a boy with tremendous resilience, and his story is inspiring.
There are many other excellent books on the humanitarian crises brought on by war, and I’m glad I found these two to read right now.