Children's Books About...
Children Who Had To Start Again
Boy, Everywhere is about a boy who lived a happy, normal life; who made plans with friends, had the potential to play for the school football team, had an iPad, a PlayStation, a great school, weekends at the mall to look forward to, and who lost it all.
Refugees are ordinary, hard-working people who experience extraordinary challenges and surpass them. They are resilient, brave and hugely inspiring. Although not always as traumatic, it is not only refugees who experience loss and uncertainty like this. Many children will have to start again when they move to another house, a new school, when their parents divorce or when they lose a loved one. Like Sami in Boy, Everywhere we all have experienced fear of going somewhere new and finding the strength to overcome challenges at some point in our lives.
Here are three books in which children deal with big changes and start anew.
1. The Journey
by Francesca Sanna
A picture book about a family that has to flee their war-torn country, with beautiful illustrations that depict a happy life overshadowed by fear and worry when war begins. It shows how long a journey a refugee has to take to reach safety and the anxiety it causes a young child. It’s a great way to encourage conversations about having to pack and leave everything behind, the uncertainty of becoming a refugee and starting again.
Also appears on:
2. Pie in the Sky
by Remy Lai
This wonderfully illustrated middle grade novel is about a Chinese family that migrates to Australia after their father dies, and their struggles to settle in to their new country. Eleven year old Jingwen sees himself as an alien when he can’t communicate with his teacher or school friends in English. The story shows him slowly overcoming his fears and grief, and embracing the move like his little brother and mother have.
It’s a charming story in which food and cooking is used as comfort and a coping mechanism. I think if there was one book I wish I’d written, it’d be this. Remy Lai has written about serious, life changing events in a humorous and light manner. I’m glad I read it after I’d written my book, otherwise I’d never have written mine!
Also appears on:
3. Rose, Interrupted
by Patrice Lawrence
Eighteen months after leaving a strict religious cult, Rose and her younger brother Rudder struggle to adjust to the modern world. They can read, watch and wear what they want––there seem to be no rules, but then there are unwritten rules that Rose doesn’t know about. While Rose has a plan to settle into the ‘real’ world quickly, Rudder struggles and misses his father and friends. A thoughtful YA novel that depicts how difficult it can be to learn a different way of life and start again, moving from a comfortable home to a cramped one bedroom flat where hunger and poverty become a part of life.