The Intimate I: Tales of Modern Refugees

WNDB-YA-flowchart-2014-copyrightI’m drawn to the power of what I heard at the recent National Council on the Social Sciences conference. I presented with fellow Pirate Tree reviewer, Nancy Bo Flood, on using literature to help students understand war. Conference speakers gave examples of ways to reveal to students the global community in which we live.   And I return once again to those in the children’s and young adult book industry who advocate for offering books that, as the “I’m Your Neighbor Project” says, “support communities as their cultural makeup evolves.” “I’m Your Neighbor” could be talking about the world.

In this post, I’m gathering some of the bibliographic essays and reviews that offer context to the current discussion about refugees entering the U.S. today, in particular Muslims. Who are they? Here they are.

“Mirrors and Windows of Muslim Life” by Imani Tennyson, who is a writer and reviewer for We Need Diverse Books. Tennyson suggests a number of young adult novels to us and writes, ” I thought I’d put together a small list of books featuring Muslim characters just living their lives, for parents, teachers, librarians, just people, to share with their youth (and read themselves) and develop a sense of empathy.”

Check out Rich in Color, a blog about diverse young adult literature starring people of color.

I’m Your Neighbor Books offers thematic collections of books approached in four ways: by group represented, by setting, by age of the protagonist, and by theme. Here are recommended books portraying Muslim-Americans.

We Need Diverse Books is a nonprofit, a political movement, advocating for a wide representation of children in children’s books, reflecting the actual diversity of kids growing up in the U.S. Among WNDB booklists is a new one, Diverse Books for the Holidays.  Among their selections are books reviewed here on The Pirate Tree

If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan reviewed by E.M. Kokie

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed reviewed by E. M. Kokie

A standard must-read to me is The New Kids:  Big Dreams, Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens. Journalist Brooke Hauser spent a year at International High in Brooklyn to portray the lives of teens and their families with the simultaneously cool and intimate eye of a camera on crucial moments of young people’s lives. Let’s begin here.

2 comments for “The Intimate I: Tales of Modern Refugees

  1. November 24, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Thanks for each of these recommendations and for collecting them together!!

    • November 24, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      You are so welcome. Just the beginning – with this sampling of the stunning books about refugees’ experience.

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