Books to Read for World Refugee Awareness Month

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BookTrib is partnering with Bookish to bring you more great content. June is World Refugee Awareness Month. To bring insight into the diverse experiences of refugees, we’ve rounded up some of the best books by and about refugees. Whether you’re interested in reading a memoir, a reported work of nonfiction, a novel, or sharing a story with a young reader, there’s a book here for everyone. Read on, and enjoy some deep conversations inspired by these thought-provoking books.

In Ishmael Beah’s memoir, he recounts his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone during the country’s civil war. Years later, at 16, Beah was rescued by UNICEF and then adopted by his uncle.

 

 

Thi Bui’s graphic memoir recounts the author’s experiences as a new parent juxtaposed with her feelings about her own parents and their experiences as refugees leaving Vietnam.

 

 

This collection of poetry from Mai Der Vang tells the story of the Hmong people, many of whom left Laos for the United States. These poems allow the personal and the historical to mingle in a fascinating and informative way.

 

 

This novel inspired by the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a Lost Boy of Sudan, was a National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Fiction in 2006.

 

 

 

Viet Thanh Nguyen won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Sympathizer, and readers will be equally impressed by these short stories. In them, Vietnamese refugees grapple with lives in transition.

 

 

This novel by Dinaw Mengestu takes readers to Addis Ababa at the time of the Ethiopian Revolution, and forward in time to Washington D.C. 17 years later.

 

 

 

Dadaab, situated in Kenya, is the largest refugee camp in the world. In City of ThornsBen Rawlence takes readers inside the lives of nine people out of the half-million refugees who are living there.

 

 

Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West introduces readers to Nadia and Saeed, who fall in love and then must flee their city as violent events begin to unfold. What will this mean for Nadia and Saeed? You’ll have to read to find out.

 

 

This reported work of nonfiction follows refugees arriving in Europe from the Middle East. Readers seeking to understand the current refugee crisis will want to pick this one up.

 

 

This memoir tells the story of Sungju as a child in North Korea, and how he was forced to fend for himself at a young age. Sungju started a gang, and lived on the margins of society before escaping North Korea.

 

 

Atia Abawi’s novel concerns a boy named Tareq and his family as they flee Syria for Turkey, and then leave Turkey for Greece in search of a safe and peaceful place to live. Abawi reported on Syria as a foreign correspondent, and brings her expertise to this story.

 

 

Twelve-year-old Nisha grapples with her Muslim and Hindu identity in this moving middle grade novel about life in India after the end of British rule.

 

 

 

 

If these books leave you inspired to help refugees worldwide, consider donating.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an avid reader in possession of a good book must be in want of another. That, dear reader, is where Bookish comes in. Bookish is made up of a team of readers who drag their noses from in between the pages of books to sit in front of a screen and further explore the literary worlds that we long to live in. Within our webpages you’ll find everything from emotional GIF reviews to serious essays on genre dynamics, from author interviews to book recommendations, from listicles to seasonal previews. Our goal is to give readers more information about the books, authors, and genres that they love while also introducing them to new titles, debut writers, and genres they never thought they’d read. From the casual reader to the one who documents each and every book read in a color-coordinated spreadsheet, we pride ourselves on having something for all readers. Our passion will not be repressed, so we hope that you allow us to share our great love of reading with you.

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