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Staff Picks: Children's Books That Illustrate the Refugee Experience

World Refugee Day is an international day organized every year on June 20th by the United Nations. It is designed to celebrate and honor refugees from around the world. This year in celebration of World Refugee Day our staff has hand-picked children's books that highlight the refugee experience.

Salma the Chef by Danny Ramada book cover

1. Salma the Syrian Chef

By Danny Ramadan (Annick Press)
Ages 4 to 7 years

This is a beautiful book in a series about the life and experience of refugee and immigrant families. We loved reading it and learning about a Syrian family who is apart and how a special recipe can help link Salma’s past and present homes. - Anne-Marie Scali, Save the Children

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga book cover

2. Other Words for Home

By Jasmine Warga (Balzer + Bray)
Ages 4 to 7 years

This is the story of a young girl leaving Syria as a refugee, to live with family in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"Written in lyrical form; nicely produced as an audio book as well" - Rahul Karanth, Save the Children

Refugee by Alan Gratz book cover

3. Refugee

By Alan Gratz (Scholastic)
Ages 8 years and up

Three young people from Germany, Cuba, and Syria go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

"Alan Gratz weaves together the stories of children who need to leave their homes across the globe and across time." - Rahul Karanth, Save the Children

My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner book cover

4. My Name is Not Refugee

By Kate Milner(The Bucket List)
Ages 2 to 6 years

A beautiful picture book to explain what it is like to be a child who needs to leave home in a simple and straightforward way. Addresses the nightmarish situation but with dignity and hope. While for younger children it could definately be read with other children to engage in a deeper discussion. - Amanda Morgan, Save the Children

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman book cover

5. On the Night You Were Born

By Nancy Tillman (Feiwel & Friends)
Ages 0 to 10 years 

This picture book always makes me weep! It's a beautiful story of how the world was forever changed on the night you were born, and how all creatures celebrated. It gives the reader a sense of wonder at just how special and loved they are.
- Katherine Gaines, Save the Children

Other Resources for Children