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Emotional Books That Tell Refugees’ Enduring Journeys

The emotions and hardship become slightly easier to imagine after reading these powerful stories.

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Refugees experience what no human should be experiencing after centuries of progress. Displacement, disease, loss and intolerance all make an appearance along a refugees’ journey in some way or another.
So let’s put our lives in perspective, honour their plight, and learn about the things happening in our society that aren’t so glamorous to talk about.

#1 Hope on the Brinks by Kelly A. Yotebieng

Hope on the Brinks by Kelly A. Yotebieng
Much writing and popular media coverage of forced migration portrays refugees in a frame of helplessness and vulnerability. Focusing on the ‘suffering refugee’ obscures our ability to recognize the collective strength of refugee communities and how these strengths allow displaced persons to reorganize their lives in informal settlements in growing cities of the developing world. This book sheds light on how a growing population of urban refugees from Rwanda rebuilt their lives and communities after conflict and displacement in Cameroon, and how quickly things can change when their legal situation is called into question.

Turmoil in the Central Africa region has led to over 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers arriving over the past several decades in Cameroon, the safe haven of the Central Africa region. This book aims to present human faces to the sea of refugees dominating our television screens, illustrate the range of their experiences rather than boiling the trajectories down to simple flight and displacement, and underline how their situations demonstrate resilience and hope in their ability to endure extreme hardship in chaotic urban environments. Indeed, even under the guise of rapidly changing and exclusive immigration policy, displaced persons try to keep their lives moving forward. A better understanding of hope and practice that lead to desired outcomes of refugees within growing urban centers in developing countries is imperative to inform these resilience building programs that humanitarian agencies are still grappling to design.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#2 Ripe Dreams by Nathan Haddish Mogos

Ripe Dreams by Nathan Haddish Mogos
Teme is an embodiment of that recurrent news footage of a young unaccompanied migrant rescued of yet another capsized boat on the Mediterranean Sea. Surviving the treacherous Sahara Desert then the raging sea was not the end of his battles though. Final destination in Norway, the past with a stranglehold, future uncertain the likes of Teme face adulthood, migration trauma, cultural shock, toxic comfort zone all at once while being shadowed by the long arms of the law. With Toure his partner in crime, a loving local girlfriend, an objective child psychologist appearing intermittently in his life, would Teme shake off his troubled past or would he let the darkness consume him…?

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#3 I Will Find You by John M. Taylor

I Will Find You by John M. Taylor
I Will Find You, a tale of mystery and intrigue which starts in wartime Fenland near Ely and then moves halfway across the globe to Australia. John Taylor’s story is colourful, poignant and moving as it charts the journey of young Robbie Spalding and his path from a Dr. Barnardos Home in Cambridge to a new life on the other side of the world. Robbie becomes Nick Thorne and this account of his arrival into adulthood is more than a little tragic and filled with unexpected twists and turns. Touching, funny, sad and filled with drama, I will find you is an authentic and pacey read, gripping and compelling, and will certainly keep the readers’ attention until the last page is turned. Expect to shed a tear for the casualties of war.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#4 The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri
This moving novel tells the story of the author fleeing Iran when she was 8 years old. Escaping with her mother and brother, Nayeri came to live in a refugee camp in Italy. Ultimately, the family was granted asylum in the U.S. and Nayeri went on to study at Princeton. Through Nayeri’s personal account she sheds light on what it means to be a refugee, even in modern days. She calls out certain governmental policies and approaches while raising new and enlightened questions.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#5 City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence

City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence
Deep in the deserts of Kenya is the city of Dadaab. It is home to houses made of mud and sticks and political corruption to the roots of the country. Rawlence spent four years getting to know the Dadaab refugee camp and its citizens. He intertwines 9 different stories to tell the story of these people.

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Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#6 A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Linda Sue Park writes two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The boy named Salva is part of the “lost boys” of Sudan. They travel on foot around the country searching for their lost families. Nya, the girl, ends up crossing paths with Salva later in the book. Park writes a story of the pain an eleven your old boy must endure finding his family.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

#7 We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled by Wendy Pearlman

We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled by Wendy Pearlman
Perhaps the most controversial of the three novels I chose. Pearlman’s story involves the atrocities of Syria. In 2011, hundreds of thousands of Syrians took a stand to demand freedom and human rights. The government’s response was violent and sparked an all-out civil war. This novel is the many stories of those people.

Before buying a copy make sure to compare the price at various outlets:

Book Depository (International)Waterstones (International) Read more reviews and buy the book here

Contributors to this article
Janine Hornsby from Austin Macauley Publishers

Adina Mahalli from EnlightenedReality

Ethan Lichtenberg from Insuranceproviders

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