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Richmond Public Library Suggested Reading – Available in their catalog and digitally via OverDrive

Elementary and Middle Grade Readers

Young Adults and Adults Fiction and Non-Fiction

 

Other Selections

Picture Books

Marwan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias (Author), Laura Borras (Illustrator)

Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago (Author), Rafael Yockteng (Illustrator), Elisa Amado (Translator)

Mama’s Nightingale by Edwidge Danticat (Author), Leslie Staub (Illustrator)

The Day War Came by Nicola Davies (Author), Rebecca Cobb (Illustrator)

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Author & Illustrator)

My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald  (Author), Freya Blackwood (Illustrator)

The Map of Good Memories by Fran Nuño (Author), Zuzanna Celej (Illustrator), Jon Brokenbrow (Translator)

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Author)

Four Feet Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams  (Author), Khadra Mohammed (Author)

Brothers in Hope by Mary Williams (Author), R. Gregory Christie (Author), Gregory Christie (Illustrator)

 

Books for Older Children and Adults

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Author)

Refugee by Alan Gratz (Author).

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong (Author)

Shadow by Michael Morpurgo (Author)

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (Author)

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Author), Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai (Author)

 

Videos & Films

Moving Worlds - A special selection of migration-related features and shorts. Includes resources for post-screening activities for audiences of all ages. Moving Worlds is curated by Counterpoints Arts.

People of Nowhere – Short, powerful film captures the human dimension of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Interpreters - A poignant but tense portrayal of a very human and high-stakes side of war's aftermath, the story of how Afghan and Iraqi interpreters risked their lives aiding American troops--but then became the people we left behind. Screened by the IRC in Richmond at Bowtie Cinemas in 2019.

Human Flow – Captured over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey.  Human Flow is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future.

North Star Fading - A ‘zoom comic’ by PositiveNegatives inspired by the true testimonies of four Eritrean refugees who fled their homes to make the dangerous journey across Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya to Europe. The art is by Karrie Fransman and the words by Lula Mebrahtu. 

Beasts of No Nation - When civil war tears his family apart, a young West African boy is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters and transform into a child soldier.

A Journey from Afghanistan (Seeking Refuge) – The award-winning Seeking Refuge series is composed of short, animated documentaries, each focusing on the plight of refugee children and their adaptation to a new country. Told in the words of a 10 year-old, Ali’s story focuses on the case of a young boy separated from his family after he escapes war.

Refugee – A filmmaker project realized by 5 renowned photographers including Clementine Malpas and Leslie Knott. The photographers travelled the world to illustrate the atrocities of war, political persecution and other root causes of refugee displacement.

Dear Habib – A short animation sharing the true story of a young, unaccompanied child migrant called Habib. Co-produced by Habib himself, along with Majid Adin and PositiveNegatives. The animation brings to life the incredible challenges, and opportunities, that young unaccompanied child migrants face.

When You Don’t Exist – Amnesty International’s campaign for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe and at its borders.

The White Helmets – As daily airstrikes pound civilian targets in Syria, a group of indomitable first responders risk their lives to rescue victims from the rubble.

Look Beyond Borders: a 4-minute experiment - Studies suggest it takes four minutes of direct eye contact for strangers to fall in love. So Amnesty International decided to conduct a simple experiment: refugees and Europeans sat across from each other and looked each other in the eyes. Watch and see what happens next.

Most Shocking Second a Day Video – A young girl's life gets turned upside-down in this tragic second a day video. From Save the Children.

This is Home: A Refugee Story - An intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in America and struggling to find their footing. Displaced from their homes and separated from loved ones, they are given eight months of assistance from the International Rescue Committee to become self-sufficient.  As they learn to adapt to challenges, including the newly imposed travel ban, their strength and resilience are tested.  It is a universal story, highlighted by humor and heartbreak, about what it’s like to start over, no matter the obstacles. Screened by IRC in Richmond at The Byrd in 2018.

My Journey: An Asylum Seeker’s Experience – A look at the experience of Asylum Seekers fleeing their homes for a new life in the UK. A stark contract to perspective we hear in the news.

Cries From Syria - A searing, comprehensive account of a brutal five-year conflict from the inside out, drawing on hundreds of hours of war footage from Syrian activists and citizen journalists, as well as testimony from child protesters, leaders of the revolution, human rights defenders, ordinary citizens, and high-ranking army generals who defected from the government. Their collective stories are a cry for attention and help from a world that little understands their reality or agrees on what to do about it. Screened by IRC in Richmond at VCU in 2017.

Do One Simple Act - This little animation reminds us that it only takes one Simple Act to change the way we see refugees, and ourselves.

 

Sesame Workshop and the IRC

In 2017, the IRC and Sesame Workshop received a McArthur grant to develop educational programs for Syrian refugee children whose lives and education have been disrupted by war and displacement.  In 2020, Ahlan Simsim aired for the first time, bringing early education to children in Syria and throughout the diaspora.  You can learn more about the IRC and Sesame Workshops partnerships below:

Sesame Street and the IRC are helping refugee children overcome trauma (Rescue.org, February 2020)

‘Sesame Street’ Is Opening Up to Syrian Refugees (New York Times, January 2020)

"60 Minutes": Sesame Workshop and the IRC (November 2019)

On "60 Minutes": Educating the youngest refugees (November 2019)

Muppets teach emotional coping tactics to refugee children (November 2019)

 

Staff Picks

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya  (Author), Elizabeth Weil (Author)

- I often don’t read books featuring refugees because I’m surrounded by their stories at work, but after hearing Ms. Wamariya speak, I knew I needed to read her story.  It’s unflinching in its honesty – heartbreaking and inspiring.  It cuts back and forth between her middle class upbringing in Rwanda, her years-long journey through multiple refugee camps and other shelters, and her education in the US. I could not put it down. – Diana Cole Connolly, Development Coordinator

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman  (Author)

- This is the book that first sparked my interest in refugee health. The time and research that went into this book is captivating. Ms. Fadiman deeply explores the culture and history of the Hmong people of Laos and their experience as resettled refugees in the U.S. The dialogue with medical professionals also highlights the pitfalls of the U.S. medical system in relation to non-Western and non-native English-speaking patients. This book gives you an opportunity to see the point of view of two cultures who both deeply believe they are correct and gives insight into where compromise might be found through asking the right questions and truly listening. – Taylor Walters, Health Liaison

How to Make a Life: A Tibetan Refugee Family and the Midwestern Woman They Adopted by Madeline Uranek  (Author)

- I had the privilege of meeting the author and Tenzin Kalsang, the incredible matriarch of the refugee family resettled in Madison, Wisconsin, at a small reading and signing event at Chop Suey Books. Besides learning so much about Tibetan culture, language, history, and the arduous journey of the refugees who fled to India, the book reinforced what I constantly hear from volunteers working with IRC families – that they feel they gain exponentially more than they give in the relationship. – Sharon Singer, Volunteer Coordinator

Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America (documentary feature) by Tom Shepherd  (Director)- As a member of the LGBTQI community, I was really interested to see this film, which depicts the stories of four refugees seeking asylum from their countries because of their LGBTQ identities. And, as an educational psychologist, I am fascinated by the intersectionality of the different facets of our identities, and how they overlay in different ways in the contexts of our daily lives. It was moving and fascinating to watch their journeys, with all the ups and downs, and the challenges and barriers that they experienced in their new lives here. Just like here in Charlottesville and Richmond, there were so many caring and huge-hearted volunteers and staff who helped them and that was especially inspiring to see! – Ellen Markowitz, Career Development Specialist

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario  (Author)

- Sonia Nazario captures the true story of Enrique, a young migrant who travels from Honduras to the United States to reunite with his mother. This book brought me on a beautiful and heartbreaking journey. It taught me about the harshness that many people, mostly children, experience on a daily basis attempting to reunite with their families. I also learned about the amazing support offered to them by caring individuals. I highly encourage everyone to read this book to understand more about the journey migrants take. – Katie Heroux, Volunteer Coordinator

Other Materials

UNHCR - Teaching about Refugees - Find teaching materials about refugees, asylum, migration and statelessness for all age groups in primary and secondary education.

Thank you to the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library and Richmond Public Library for sharing their recommended reading lists with the IRC.