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Reading list on Refugees

books (2)

Are you curious to learn more about refugees and the reasons they come to Canada and BC? Consider reading one of the following books from your local library or here online.

Under the Persimmon Tree (2005) – By Suzanne Fisher-Staples

This widely acclaimed novel explores the relationship between a young American woman and an Afghan girl, Najmah, who is all alone in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The story follows Najmah’s perilous journey through the mountains in search for safety and refuge in Pakistan.

A Long Way Gone (2007) – By Ishael Beah

In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Beah, now twenty-six years old, tells a powerfully gripping story: At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. At sixteen, he was removed from fighting by UNICEF, and through the help of the staff at his rehabilitation center, he learned how to forgive himself, to regain his humanity, and, finally, to heal.

A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) – By Khaled Hosseini

Set against the backdrop of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban, this novel follows the intersecting stories of two Afghan women. It provides an insight into the lives of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime.

The Kite Runner (2003) – By Khaled Hosseini

This novel tells the story of the friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy Pashtun merchant, and Hassan, the son of a Hazara servant. It follows the flight of Amir’s family from Afghanistan in the wake of the Soviet invasion and the persecution of Hazaras under the Taliban.

From Bombs to Books (2011) – by David Starr

The remarkable true stories of refugee children and their families who attend Edmonds Community School in Burnaby.

What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (2006) – by Dave Eggers

This is the story of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee in war-ravaged southern Sudan who flees from his village in the mid-1980s and becomes one of the so-called Lost Boys. Valentino’s travels bring him in contact with enemy soldiers, with liberation rebels, with hyenas and lions, with disease and starvation, and with deadly murahaleen (militias on horseback) the same group who currently terrorize Darfur. Eventually Deng is resettled in the United States with almost 4000 other young Sudanese men, and a very different struggle begins.

Little Bee (2008) – by Chris Cleave

A dual narrative story about a Nigerian refugee claimant and a British magazine editor, who meet during the oil conflict in the Niger Delta, and are re-united in England several years later. The novel examines the treatment of refugees by the asylum system, as well as issues of British colonialism, globalization, political violence and personal accountability. Although the story takes place mostly in Britain, the treatment and experiences of this Nigerian refugee claimants are not unlike those refugee claimants that seek asylum in Canada.

-This list was compiled by Chris Friesen, Director, Settlement Services, ISSofBC