16 kids' books about refugees

Want to teach your kids about refugees and their journey? These books will help get the conversation flowing.

16 kids' books about refugees

kid’s books about refugees

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey

Written by Doug Kuntz & Amy Shrodes, Illustrated by Sue Cornelison (AGES 4-8) When a family is forced to leave their home in Iraq, they refuse to leave without their cat, Kunkush. They hide him away on their journey from Iraq to Greece, but once on the crowded boat, his carrier breaks and the terrifed cat runs away. The family searches for their beloved cat unsuccessfully, and choose to keep moving, saddened by the disappearance of their pet. In a time of sacrifice, this true story (told by the people involved) demonstrates how a community of people came together to reunite Kunkush with his family when they needed him most. $24,

16 kids' books about refugees

Dia’s Story Cloth: The Hmong People’s Journey of Freedom

Written by Dia Cha, Stitched by Chue and Nhia Thao Cha (AGES 6+) When Dia was a child, she and her family were forced to flee from Laos to Thailand because of the war, where they spent four years in a refugee camp before moving to the U.S. As an important part of Hmong culture, Dia narrates through her “story cloth” (stitched by her uncle and aunt,) sharing her family’s experience of war and their journey to peace and new beginnings in America. $11,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Amazon


Bamboo People

Written by Mitali Perkins (AGES 10+) This novel follows a Burmese boy named Chiko whose father (a doctor) is imprisoned for resisting the government. When Chiko is forced to fight in the Burmese army, he meets Tu Reh—someone determined to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his home and bamboo fields. As the two lives intersect and the boys learn more about their situation, they discover the true meaning of bravery and compassion along the way. $10,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto:

Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation

Written by Edwidge Danticat and illustrated by Leslie Staub, Dial Books (AGES 5-9) When Saya’s mom is sent to an immigration detention center, she is comforted by replaying her mother’s voice on the answering machine. While in jail, Mama sends Saya Haitian-inspired bedtime stories on cassette tape to listen to before bed. Inspired by her Mama’s tales and her father’s effort to reunite their family, Saya writes her own story in hopes of bringing Mama back home for good. $20,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Amazon

The Red Pencil

Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrated by Shane Evans (AGES 8+) When the Janjaweed attack Amira's once-peaceful Sudanese village, she almost loses everything. On foot, the 12-year-old is forced to make the long, frightening journey to the safety of a refugee camp. She faces tough days once she arrives at the camp—that is, until she uses the gift of "a simple red pencil" to open the door to endless possibilities. $11,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Google Books


The Journey

Written and Illustrated by Francesca Sanna, Flying Eye Books (AGES 6-9) This beautifully illustrated book follows a family who become refugees after their home is destroyed by war. $22,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Flying Eye Books

Where Will I Live?

Written by Rosemary McCarney with photographs from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Second Story Press (AGES 5-9) This photobook gives families a look into the lives of refugee children around the world. Despite their hardships, they’re still fun-loving kids, longing for a safe place to call home. $20, (available April 2017)

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Second Story Press

Stepping Stone

Written by Margriet Ruurs, Illustrated by Nizar Badr, Orca Book Publishers (AGES 4-8) Rama and her family are forced to flee their village. They take only what they can carry and make their way to Europe to escape a civil war. $20,

stepping stone kids bookPhoto: Orca Book Publishers


Greetings Leroy

Written by Itah Sadu, Illustrated by Alix Delinois, Groundwood Books (AGES 4-7) Leroy starts a new school, which is scary enough—but on top of that it’s a new school that is also in a new country. The story explores how Leroy comes to love his new home in Canada, maybe just as much as the one he left behind in Jamaica. $19, (Available May 2017)

greetings leroy kids bookPhoto: BNC CataList

From Far Away

Written by Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar Illustrated by Michael Martchenko, Annick Press (AGES 4-7) Young Saoussan tells readers a funny story about her first Hallloween in a Canadian school. This book was inspired by actual letters Saoussan wrote to Robert Munsch. $8,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: BNC CataList

Four Feet Two Sandals

Written by Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed and Illustrated by Doug Chayka, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (AGES 4-8) Two young girls in a refugee camp in Pakistan become friends after they share a single pair of sandals. Readers learn what life in a refugee camp is really like. $16,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Amazon



Written by Rebecca Young, Illustrated by Matt Ottley, Dial Books (AGES 4-8) A young boy has to find a new home, so he ventures off to sea with only a blanket, a bottle and a cup of earth in a teacup. $24,

Tea cup kids booksPhoto: BNC CataList

Yara, My Friend from Syria

Written by Alhan Rahimi, Illustrated by Anahit Aleksanyan, (AGES 4-7) Yara has just moved to Canada from Syria, and Oliver and Angela are eager to get to know their new classmate. However, when Yara starts to cry, they don’t know why. This book shows kids how to treat newcomers with patience and respect. $14,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Alhan Rahimi

This Is Me

Written by Jamie Lee Curtis and Illustrated by Laura Cornell, Workman Publishing (AGES 4-8) A teacher challenges her class to imagine packing their whole lives into a single suitcase—what would they choose? $24,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Workman Publishing


Two White Rabbits

Written by Jairo Buitrago, Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng and English translation by Elisa Amado, Groundwood Books (AGES 4-7) A migrant girl and her dad travel a lot—on trains, cars, trucks and boats—but she’s not quite sure where they’re going. $19,

two white rabbits kids bookPhoto: BNC CataList

The Color of Home

Written by Mary Hoffman, Illustrated by Karen Littlewood, Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd (AGES 4-8) Hassan, a Somalian refugee, is starting a new school in a new country. He misses his home and is having trouble adjusting—the food is different, class is indoors and it’s cold and damp outside. $84,

16 kids' books about refugeesPhoto: Amazon

Read more: 5 books to teach your kids about privilege and socioeconomic differences Are you talking about race, power and justice with your kids? A Syrian refugee family’s first days in Canada

This article was originally published on Feb 01, 2017

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Kevin is an associate editor for Canadian Business in Toronto, Ontario. More of their work can be found in MSN Canada, Chatelaine and This Magazine

Lissa Coe