Immigrants and Refugees
Read Early And Daily (R.E.A.D.) is committed to all children having the opportunity to see themselves and their narratives in books that they read; books act as mirrors offering a reflection of themselves and lives. But we also believe children's books can be windows to gain a new perspective of what other children may be experiencing in their lives.
Over the past few years, the struggles and plight of immigrants and refugees have been a recurring news headline. Your child may be asking tough questions or may be struggling to understand. We've curated a list of books by age groups for you and your child to read that we hope will generate better understanding of and compassion for immigrant and refugee families.
Why choose R.E.A.D. Books over cheaper prices? The revenue from every book you buy from R.E.A.D. Books will be used to buy a new, quality, culturally relevant book for the children Read Early and Daily (R.E.A.D.) serves. Just remember this simple formula---buy a book, give a book.
Infants and Toddlers Books appropriate for this age introduce your child to different cultures around the world. Spend time pointing out how much we have in common and the benefits of our differences.
Parenting tip: Turn the television off and put the newspaper away to avoid scary images. If you find yourself upset by the news, take a media break. Be present for your child. Young children can sense caregivers' anxiety.
Preschoolers At this age, children can be introduced to the concept that some children and their famlies do struggle and have to make difficult choices. Books appropriate for this age include: exploring different cultures, how to be a kind friend, and learning about the experiences of children who may be new to this country.
We have included three selections in the age category that do introduce the concept of having to leave your country. Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote is a migrant's tale but told with animal characters, which we believe offers an opportunity to explain the concept of immigration in an indirect manner. Marwan's Journey is a story of a young boy who must leave his country due to war. The story hints that his mother has died and one page depicts war, but the book's illustrations and prose are gentle in their approach and may be appropriate if you believe your child can handle a more realistic view. Mustafa is the story of young boy who has relocated to a new country due to war and illustrates how important being seen and friendship are to refugee children.
Early Elementary Books are a perfect way to introduce school-aged children to the realities immigrants and refugees face. Books appropriate for this age include stories that illustrate a character's daily realities of leaving a country and living in a new country. Picture books are still appropriate because the illustrations provide a break from detailed text to absorb the material. Two points to remember when talking to your children at this age: 1) assure them of their own safety as they may become fearful learning about the struggles of kids their own age and 2) keep answers simple and matter-of-fact.
We have also included two nonfiction selections and one chapter book for this age. Refugees and Migrants answers questions children may have in a matter-of-fact manner. Her Right Foot is the history of the Statue of Liberty and its history with immigration. Wishtree is a story of intolerance an immigrant girl experiences in her new neighborhood. The story is brilliantly told from the perspective of a tree and its animal friends, which allows the reader to be one-step removed from the actual reality of the girl.
Upper Elementary/Middle Grade As children mature, they are able to better understand the realities that refugees and immigrants endure. They are able to begin exploring the history and laws related to immigration. Books appropriate for this age include stories that delve deeper into a character's daily realities of leaving a country and living in a new country. Make time to read the book together, or let your child know you are available to answer questions or talk about some of the issues they may find troubling. Go beyond the book by visiting a museum, checking out historical nonfiction books, or participating in a community service activity or event as a family.
Teen/Young Adult Teenagers have been exposed to the harsh realities of refugees and immigrants through the news, school, and perhaps classmates sharing personal stories. Books appropriate for this age should allow the reader to gain new perspective of what peers may be facing. Make time to read the same book your teen is reading to talk about it together, or let your child know you are available to answer questions or talk about some of the issues they may find troubling. Encourage your teen to engage with the news and, if desired, community activities.