Children’s Literature about Refugees

A catalyst in the classroom

Paperback / softback, 160 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
25 May 2017
Trentham Books

Price: £19.99

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'It could happen to anybody', observed one nine-year-old child when her teacher read a book in class about refugees. Fiction provides the perfect conduit for the experiences of refugees so that young refugee students feel their experiences are validated, and their peers come to understand their situation.

In this book, Julia Hope explores ways of engaging in class with children’s books about refugees. Using Beverley Naidoo's novel 'The Other Side of Truth' along with a book aimed at younger children - Mary Hoffman's 'The Colour of Home' - Hope offers concrete case studies on how children's literature about refugees can be used productively in the classroom.

As more and more people flee wars, violence and political oppression, this book gives teachers both pedagogical support and knowledge of the resources, and shows how they can tackle this challenging topic. It is indispensable for educators of younger children and for researchers who are interested in controversial children’s literature.

  • Julia Hope

    Dr Julia Hope is a Lecturer in Primary Education and a specialist in children’s literature at Goldsmiths, University of London.

CONTENTS: Introduction; 1. The refugee experience; 2. Children’s literature about refugees; 3. Reader response and critical pedagogy; 4. A case study of two texts; 5. Two authors and an illustrator: Motivations and aims; 6. Teachers as mediators; 7. Children making meaning; 8. The ‘enabling’ teacher; 9. Listening to children’s voices; 10. Conclusion and ways forward; Appendix 1: List of children’s literature about refugees

'Julia Hope takes us beyond reviewing or criticising children's literature: she sits amongst children who are reading, discussing and examining some children's books that tackle one of the most pressing issues of today. This is an important read for anyone interested in how children interpret literature.'

Michael Rosen, Writer, poet, performer, broadcaster and Professor of Children's Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London

'Carefully researched and eloquently written, Hope highlights the importance of understanding the refugee experience. Through an in-depth study this book demonstrates how children's literature can enable teachers to work through complex and contemporary issues in an accessible manner. This book showcases both the importance of listening to children's voices and the power of the primary teacher as a mediator of text. Globally, as migration raises several human rights issues, this book offers an invaluable contribution to primary education.'

Dr Anne Dolan, Lecturer in Primary Geography, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick