Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Refugees: Their Stories

Refugees: Their Stories

An immigrant is a person who leaves his or her home country to work, study or live in a new country. Sometimes people are immigrants to get an education that is not available in their home country. Sometimes people immigrate to do a particular job or to live in a country whose customs and laws are different than their home country.

A special kind of immigrant is a refugee. Their reasons for leaving their home country are different. A refugee is a person who is fleeing his or her home country to escape danger, like a war, or to escape persecution. Persecution is being hurt based on your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group or having a particular political opinion. The United States welcomes many immigrants each year to live and work and study, as well as giving refuge to people who have fled their home country for their own safety.

Below are some books written by, or about, refugees. By reading these books you can live for just a little while, in their experience. I did not grow up afraid. I did not have to worry about living in a war zone, being hurt or being persecuted. I also didn’t want to think about having to move and change schools, let alone thinking about starting a whole new life somewhere and having to learn a new language and new customs and meet all new people. I don’t know what that’s like because I never had to do it. These stories help me see the challenges that refugees face starting a new life – kids facing anxiety and fear and danger with courage. Sometimes you meet new friends in person. Sometimes you meet them in books. Here are some kids I think you will be proud to know.


Non-Fiction:

adrift-at-seaAdrift at Sea: a Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival – Tuan and his family survive bullets, a broken motor, and a leaking boat in the long days they spend at sea after fleeing Vietnam. A true story as told to the author by Tuan Ho. Includes family photographs and a historical note about the Vietnamese crisis.


immigrants-and-refugeesImmigrants and Refugees – Describes current patterns of migration around the world, including the causes and effects of immigration and emigration.


the-journey-that-saved-curious-georgeThe Journey That Saved Curious George: the True Wartime Ecape of Margret and H.A. Rey – In 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled their Paris home as the German army advanced. They began their harrowing journey on bicycles, pedaling to Southern France with children’s book manuscripts, including what would become the international sensation “Curious George,” among their few possessions. This is their dramatic story.


out-of-iraqOut of Iraq Refugees’ Stories in Words, Paintings & Music – Out of Iraq tells the stories of a number of Iraqi refugee families that have made Syria their home over the 5 years since the war in Iraq began. This book tells the stories of their flight from Iraq, the memories of home in the ‘good old days’ and their continued courage living as refugees.


a-song-for-cambodiaA Song for Cambodia – A biography of Arn Chorn-Pond who, as a young boy in 1970s Cambodia, survived the Khmer Rouge killing fields because of his skill on the khim, a traditional instrument, and later went on to help heal others and revive Cambodian music and culture.


Stories:

josephs-big-rideJoseph’s Big Ride – A refugee boy’s determination to ride a bicycle leads to an unexpected friendship.


teacupTeacup – A boy travels across the sea in a rowboat in search of a new home, making a journey that is long and difficult–but also filled with beauty and hope.


calling-the-water-drumCalling the Water Drum – A young boy loses both parents as they attempt to flee Haiti for a better life, and afterward is only able to process his grief and communicate with the outside world through playing the drums.



brothers-in-hope

Brothers in Hope: the Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
– Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek hundreds of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.


four-feet-two-sandalsFour Feet Two Sandals – Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers.


the-color-of-homeThe Color of Home – Hassan, newly-arrived in the United States and feeling homesick, paints a picture at school that shows his old home in Somalia as well as the reason his family had to leave.


how-i-learned-geographyHow I Learned Geography – As he spends hours studying his father’s world map, a young boy escapes the hunger and misery of refugee life. Based on the author’s childhood in Kazakhstan, where he lived as a Polish refugee during World War II. Newbery Honor Book


when-i-get-olderWhen I Get Older – A Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, singer and songwriter tells his own story about leaving war-torn Somalia as a child, growing up in Canada and creating a hit song that touched millions of people around the world with its powerful message of hope.


how-many-days-to-america-a-thanksgiving-storyHow Many Days to America: a Thanksgiving Story – Refugees from a Caribbean island embark on a dangerous boat trip to America where they have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.


oskar-and-the-eight-blessings

Oskar and the Eight Blessings – A young Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany arrives in New York City on the seventh night of Hanukkah and receives small acts of kindness while exploring the city.


the-journeyThe Journey – What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? A mother and is two brothers away to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation. But when the boys get to Miami, they are thrust into a world where bullies seem to run rampant and it’s not always clear how best to protect themselves.


refugeRefuge – A retelling of the nativity story from a perspective emphasizing the struggle of Mary and Joseph as refugee.


stepping-stonesStepping Stones – In this picture book, a young girl and her family are forced to flee their village to escape the civil war that has engulfed Syria and make their way toward freedom in Europe.


bamboo-peopleBamboo People – Two Burmese boys, one a Karenni refugee and the other the son of an imprisoned Burmese doctor, meet in the jungle and in order to survive they must learn to trust each other. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.


home-of-the-braveHome of the Brave – Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2009-2010, 6-8 Nominee.


inside-out-and-back-againInside Out and Back Again – Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. National Book Award Winner; Young Hoosier Book Award, 2013-2014, 4-6 Nominee; Newbery Honor Book


a-long-walk-to-waterA Long Walk to Water – When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.


the-only-roadThe Only Road – Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous journey from his home in Guatemala to his older brother in New Mexico after his cousin is murdered by a drug cartel.


the-red-pencilThe Red Pencil – After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.


serafinas-promiseSerafina’s Promise – In a poor village outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Serafina works hard to help her family, but dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor–then the earthquake hits and Serafina must summon all her courage to find her father and still get medicine for her sick baby brother as she promisedYoung Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee.


shooting-kabulShooting Kabul – Escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, eleven-year-old Fadi and his family immigrate to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fadi schemes to return to the Pakistani refugee camp where his little sister was accidentally left behind. Cybil Award for Middle Grade Nomination 2010.

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Around the World: Religion

Around the World: Religion

 

There are about 7.5 billion people alive on earth today. A billion is one thousand millions, so the population of the earth is 7,500 million people!

The population of Indianapolis is 852,866. If we round up to make the math easy and say that is about 1 million…7.5 billion people is Indianapolis 7,500 times!

The total land area of Earth is about 57,308,738 square miles. That is a lot of people spread out over a very large space! It is no wonder that we speak different languages, eat different foods, sing different songs and play different games! We are all human though, so it is also no wonder we are a lot alike!

Religion is the belief in a supernatural power. On this page, you can learn about the beliefs of some of the world’s most common religions, your own, as well as someone else’s. It is interesting to learn about the ways these religions are different and the way these religions are the same.

Religion:

Faith Five Religions and What They ShareSacred StoriesIn the House of HappinessThe Story of World ReligionsThe Lion Encyclopedia of World ReligionsEyewitness ReligionReligious CelebrationsOut of the ArkSacred Places

Buddhism:

Followers: Buddhists
Sacred Book: Tripitaka
Gathering Space: Stupa
Holy Places: Lumbini (Buddha’s birthplace)

BuddhismThe Buddha's Apprentice at BedtimeBuddhaDalai LamaBuddha StoriesA Handful of QuietShantideva How to Wake Up a HeroBecoming Buddha the Story of SiddharthaTibetan Tales for Little Buddhas

Christianity:

Followers: Christians
Sacred Book: The Bible
Gathering Space: Church, Chapel, Cathedral
Holy Places: Jerusalem, Bethlehem
Holidays: Christmas, Easter

Angels in the Bible StorybookCelebrate EasterPope FrancisStories of the SaintsCreations First LightSaint FrancisNoah's ArkGiving ThanksJesusMaryMother TeresaB is for Bethlehem

Hinduism:

Followers: Hindus
Sacred Book: Vedas, Upanishads
Gathering Space: Mandir
Holy Places: River Ganges
Holidays: Diwali, Holi

A Day to Remember an Indian WeddingFacts about HinduismHinduism Babu's StoryManu's Ark India's Tale of the Great FloodGandhiBe the ChangeGrandfather GandhiThe Fantastic Adventures of KrishnaKrishna Steals the Butter and Other StoriesGanesh's Sweet ToothGandhi March to the SeaDiwaliHappy DiwaliThe Diwali GiftHoli

Islam:

Followers: Muslims
Sacred Book: The Qur’an
Gathering Space: Mosque
Holy Places: Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem
Holidays: Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr

Islam Hambali's StoryThe Genius of IslamUnder the Ramadan MoonRamadanMuhammadRumiThe Grand Mosque of ParisDeep in the SaharaMy Mum is a WonderGolden Domes and Silver LanternsHassan and Madrasa Go to MadrasaHassan and Aneesa Go To Masjid

Judaism:

Followers: Jews
Sacred Book: The TeNaCh (Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim
Gathering Space: Synagogue
Holy Places: Jerusalem
Holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover, Sukkot

Eyewitness JudaismJudaism Yoni's StoryHere is the World a Year of Jewish HolidaysHanukkah Around the WorldHershel and the Hanukkah GoblinsHanukkah BearHanukkah Cookies with SprinklesSammy Spider's First MitzvahMore Than Enough a Passover StoryA Place for ElijahMazel TovIs It Sukkot Yet?Oskar and the Eight BlessingsI Say ShehechiyanuRabbi Benjamin's ButtonsHow It's Made a Torah Scroll
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Masters of Disguise

Masters of Disguise

Masters of Disguise

Masters of Disquise is a finalist in the non-fiction category for the CYBILS Awards, 2016! More Finalists

cybils-2016-round-150

If you are interested in animals at all or have studied them at school, you are probably familiar with animal camouflage – the ability for an animal to hide itself because its coloring makes it blend in to its environment. Sometimes, this also involves actively changing color to match the environment, like a chameleon.

Masters of Disguise is about some animals that take camouflage to the next level. They wear disguises or act like other things – they are great fakers! One spider makes a fake spider bigger than itself, and then moves it like a puppet to scare predators away. Amazing animal tricksters is right!

One question I always have is, “how do they do that?” This book answers that question. The amazing ability of each animal to disguise itself is described, but then you can also read the science behind the story. You also get to meet the scientists and see how they studied the animals to figure out how their disguises worked. Fascinating. Cool pictures too. Written and Illustrated by Rebecca L. Johnson.

Websites:

More Books About Animal Camouflage:

10-hidden-animalsinvisible-to-the-eyenow-you-see-me-now-you-dontnow-you-see-them-now-you-dont-poems-about-creatures-that-hidewhat-are-natures-copycats
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Finding Winnie: the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Finding Winnie: the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Finding Winnie

Finding Winnie the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear is a finalist in the non-fiction category for the CYBILS cybils-2016-round-150Awards, 2016! More Finalists

Finding Winnie is the story of a veterinarian named Harry Colebourn who was a soldier in 1914 during World War I. Harry’s job was to take care of the calvary’s horses. A cavalry is a group of soldiers who fight on horseback. Harry was from Winnepeg, Canada, which is located north of the border between North Dakota and Minnesota.
Winnie the True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
To get to the east coast to catch a boat to Europe, Harry rode on a troop train. Trains were a very common way to transport troops during the war. During one of the train’s stops on its way East, Harry took a walk on a train platform. While walking, he ran into a trapper with a baby bear. Harry could not walk away from that bear! He bought the bear for $20, and took it with him on the boat to Europe! He named the bear Winnie, after his home town of Winnepeg, and she became his unit’s mascot.

If you think for just a few seconds, you can think of another bear you know named “Winnie.” Could there be two? An odd coincidence. But what if there was only one? Read Finding Winnie to find out what this Winnie, the London Zoo, the bear you know, and a little boy named Christopher Robin (the real one!) have to do with each other! Finding Winnie in Print and on DVD. By Lindsay Mattick. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Websites:

Book Trailer:

Military Animals:

animals-helping-to-keep-the-peacebunny-the-brave-war-horsedog-diariesdogs-on-dutythe-donkey-of-gallipolifire-dogsfly-cher-ami-flygay-neck-the-story-of-a-pigeonhorses-donkeys-and-mules-in-the-marinesmilitary-animalsmilitary-dolphinsmoonlightnubs-the-true-story-of-a-muttpaws-of-couragerags-hero-dog-of-world-war-isea-lions-in-the-navyskydiving-dogsstubby-the-dog-soldierstubby-the-war-dogtuesday-takes-me-theretuesday-tucks-me-inwar-dogs-churchill-and-rufus

Bears & Zoos:

ida-alwaysknuta-pair-of-polar-bearsvicks-the-polar-bear-cub

Other Working & Helping Animals:

animals-helping-after-disastersanimals-helping-at-homeanimals-helping-to-detect-diseasesbarnaby-the-bedbug-detectivebomb-sniffing-dogscalico-dorseythe-further-adventures-of-a-lucky-dogthe-guardian-teamhoming-pigeonsiditarodkalis-storykoko-lovelifeguard-dogslola-goes-to-worka-lucky-dog-owneymeet-the-dogs-of-bedlam-farmoff-like-the-wind-the-first-ride-of-the-pony-expresspolice-dogssearch-and-rescue-dogsseeing-eye-dogsseizure-alert-dogsa-small-dogs-big-lifesniffer-dogs
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Pink is for Blobfish

Pink is for Blobfish

 

Pink is for Blobfish is a finalist in the non-fiction category for the CYBILS Awards, 2016! More Finalists

“The World of Weird Animals” says it all. I have never even heard of cybils-2016-round-150a blobfish, but there one is, right on the cover. The animals in this book are all unusual, and oddly, they are all pink! If you like the Animal Kingdom and learning about the diversity there, this is a really fun book. Each animal has a full page picture so you can see every detail of their interesting and unusual bodies. Each animal also gets a page of interesting facts, kind of like a baseball card. The facts cover species name, size, diet, habitat & predator threats. as well as some surprising stories about how the animal lives. This isn’t a book that overwhelms you with information. It isn’t the kind that includes everything you need for a report, although it would help with one. Instead, it shows you amazing members of the Animal Kingdom and makes you smile and say, “Oh!….wow!” By Jess Keating. Illustrated by David DeGrand.

Websites:

Books about Animal Colorations:

animal-colorsred-eyes-or-blue-feathersspectacular-spotsstripes-of-all-types

Series: My Life is a Zoo

Jess Keating also has a series of fiction books, My Life is a Zoo, about twelve-year-old Ana whose zoologist parents move her whole family into a zoo.

how-to-outrun-a-crocodilehow-to-outswim-a-sharkhow-to-outfox-your-friends
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