Tag Archives: Survival

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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Survival

Survival

Tools of NavigationWhen you’re talking survival you’re talking many different things. Can you read a map? Can you use a compass? Could you find food in the woods? How about bears…do you know how to keep one from attacking you? You live in Indiana, do you know how to keep yourself safe during tornadoes? These books will show you all the skills you need to survive all kinds of anxious situations. You can even learn how to protect yourself from piranhas…not a likely attack…but good to know!

Websites

Books

The Boys Book of Outdoor Survival The Boys Book of Surival Using Math to Survive in the Wild Alone in the Wilderness
Can You Survive in the Jungle? Defying Death in the Desert Disaster in the Mountains! Everest You Decide How to Survive
How to Survive in Antarctica Left for Dead! Survive Alive Finding Your Way Survivor Kid Wilderness Survival
True Mountain Rescue Stories True Wilderness Rescue Stories The World's Most Amazing Survival Stories

And while you’re getting your own skills up to par try some of these survival stories that put characters to the test.  Put yourself in their place. Could YOU do it? For me…dangling from rock outcroppings, dodging poisonous lizards, eating spiders…no! Living in the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse…yes!

Alabama Moon Call it Courage The Girl Who Owned a City The Cay
Hatchet Holes Island of the Blue Dolphins Julie of the Wolves
My Side of the Mountain Poppy Robinson Crusoe Sign of the Beaver
Marooned Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World The Swiss Family Robinson True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
A Girl Named Disaster A Long Walk to Water Night of the Howling Dogs Small as an Elephant

More Books about Survival

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Staff Pick: My Side of the Mountain

Staff Pick: My Side of the Mountain

My Side of the Mountain

A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship.

“I picked MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN in honor of the author, Jean Craighead George, who passed away recently at the age of 92. This is the story of Sam Gribley, one of eleven children, who is tired of living with his large family. He decides to live on his own in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York for a year. He finds a hollowed out tree and makes it his home. His only company is a falcon and a weasel. It is a great story of Sam’s courage and his struggle to survive. This is the first in a trilogy that includes On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful’s Mountain.”

Recommended by Karen Perry, Franklin Road Library

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Staff Pick: The Only Ones

Staff Pick: The Only Ones

The Only OnesAfter setting off from the island where he has been leading a solitary existence, thirteen-year-old Martin discovers a village with other children who have been living similarly without any adults, since the grown-ups have all been spirited away. Author: Aaron Starmer

“Martin lives on a lonely island with his eccentric father, who insists on staying apart from society to work on his “machine”.  Martin has very little contact with other people, not even with the summer visitors to the island, knowing about the rest of the world only from books.

One day Martin’s father goes off to get the last part for the machine and never returns.   When the summer people don’t return either, Martin rows to the mainland and discovers that everyone in the world has disappeared, except for about 30 children.  These children from all over the United States have mysteriously found their way to a town they have named Xibalba.  There they build a small attempt at community while trying to figure out where everyone went.   Things get much stranger after Martin arrives.
This is a tense, gripping novel, in the tradition of other child-centered societies like Lord of the Flies and Ender’s Game, flavored by a Stephen King-like eeriness, but with original characters and twists.   Questions are answered by the end, but not in ways that readers will predict.   5th-8th grade level.”

Recommended by: Steve Bridge, Irvington Library

More Staff Picks

If you like Martin’s story and thinking about what it might be like to be in a situation where the kids are in charge, try one of these::
The Girl Who Owned a City The True Meaning of Smekday Found Lost & Found
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Heart of a Samurai: based on the true story of Nakahama Manjiro

Heart of a Samurai: based on the true story of Nakahama Manjiro

Heart of a Samurai

Manjiro is only 14 years old when he takes a job on a Japanese fishing boat to help support his family. A big storm shipwrecks the fisherman on a deserted island for several months. When they are finally rescued by an American whaling boat they are almost starved to death.

The year is 1841 and as strange as this may seem to us, the country of Japan had a really isolationish view of the world back then. That means that they just wanted to be left alone. They did not want any influences from outside their own country. What this means for Manjiro and the other fisherman is that they cannot return to Japan even though the American whaling ship can easily take them there. If the men return to Japan they could be put in jail…or killed. I know, it sounds really odd to us now but that’s the way it was back then.

So, the American ship takes the fishermen to Hawaii instead. The ship’s captain takes Manjiro under his wing and offers to take him on to America as his adopted son. Manjiro accepts this offer and becomes what is thought to be the first Japanese person to set foot in America. I love this part of the book because it is so different. This Japanese boy goes to school and learns to run a farm in 1840s America.

After Manjiro finishes his education and after he sails around the world, Manjiro decides to return to Japan 1. because he wants to see his mother and 2. because he wants to show that the outside world is not dangerous. He does this even though he knows he might be killed. What happens next in his life sounds like something made up in a movie…or a book…but this times it’s TRUE. Manjiro was a real person and the unbelievable things in this books really did happen. Manjiro left Japan as a poor boy with no future. He returns and Japan is never the same again. Author: Margi Preus Newbery Honor Book 2010

Shipwrecked and Manjiro are both biographies about the real Manjiro – yes, he was real. The discipline, secrecy and skill of samurai is very mysterious – and interesting. The next two are about samurai training. If you liked the survival part of Manjiro’s story try the next four – all about survival at sea.
Shipwrecked Manjiro Young Samurai The Way of the Sword The Japanese Samurai
Escape by Sea Shen of the Sea The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Robinson Crusoe
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