• Lily Diep

Books Written by Refugees to Empower and Inspire this Summer

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

As 2020 is coming to an end, let's get ready for 2021 by reading inspirational yet heart-wrenching stories written by refugees.

The refugee crisis is one of the top global issues, so you can stay informed by delving into the first-hand experience of refugees who are searching for safety and freedom. These books will provide greater insight into the current global issue, allow you to feel inspired and enter 2021 with a more open and robust mindset.

These books can be borrowed at your local library, or you can purchase them at a local bookstore to support the author.

The Happiest Refugee

By Anh Do

Written by popular Vietnamese-Australian comedian Anh Do, it encapsulates the effects a war-torn country can have on a family. The book talks about the rough journey from Vietnam to Australia and Do's life after settling into Sydney, Australia. With a total of 250 pages, it is a quick read filled with crying, laughing and leaving you inspired by the end.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

By Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

An emotional story which showcases fear and danger as two sisters escape the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The suspenseful and heart-gripping stories shared by Wamariya encourage us to deeply understand people labelled as "victims" as they have the power to overcome challenges, injuries and aftershocks. This book provides readers with a prior understanding of the devastating consequences the genocide had on people in Rwanda.

In Order to Live

By Yeonmi Park

This book is recommended to those who are interested in reading the testimony of a surviving North Korean deflector. A frightening story of a Yeonmi Park and her journey to freedom which started on the night of March 31st 2007, when she was only thirteen years old. A book that showcases how strong one's resilience can be and have you end the book feeling incredibly proud of Park after reading her tear-jerking “journey to freedom”.

Sea Prayer

By Khaled Hosseini

An illustrated book written by a Syrian refugee. It's illustrations, and emotional letter-like form of writing shines light on the current refugee crisis. The book is set up from the perspective of a father writing letters to his son on their war escaping journey. The colourful illustrations depict a warming home city which becomes devastatingly destroyed by war.

A great way to educate children on refugees issues!

The Girl with Seven Names

By Hyeonseo Lee

Another book by a surviving North Korean deflector. Escaping North Korea in 1997 as a seventeen years old girl, the book showcases a young girl who gave up her name to be able to survive the harsh journey to safety and freedom. Through this story she shares with her readers, you will come to understand the impact a stranger has on a strong young girl stuck in a vulnerable situation.

We are Displaced

By Malala Yousafzai

A total of ten stories shared in Malala Yousafzai's book. The book is divided into two sections. The first section is her recounting her journey as a girl wanting an education yet forcibly displaced due to the rise of the Taliban in Pakistan. The book shines a light on girls, the internal issue of displacement and being a refugee.

The second section of her book shares nine stories of young girls across different countries and their success journey. This book will leave you feeling empowered and inspired by the courage depicted by ten amazing girls.

We hope you enjoy our recommendations for this summers reading!

Written by: Lily Diep (Hub Volunteer)

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