Children's Literature About Refugees
A Catalyst in the Classroom

Paper: 978 1 85856 696 2 / $32.95
Published: June 2017  

Publisher: Trentham Books
206 pp., 6 1/8" x 9 1/5"
"It could happen to anybody," observed one nine-year-old when her teacher read Beverley Naidoo’s The Other Side of Truth to the class. Julia Hope explores ways of engaging in class with the growing field of children’s books about refugees, and specifically with Naidoo’s and, for younger children, Mary Hoffman’s The Colour of Home.

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. 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 thus indispensable for educators of younger children, and for researchers who are interested in controversial children’s literature.

Table of Contents:
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: List of children’s literature about refugees

Reviews & Endorsements:
"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