The below list of children's books and videos about refugees was compiled by Salusbury WORLD for Refugee Week Activities in Kilburn Library London Borough of Brent.


 The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman, ill. by Karin Littlewood

ISBN 0711219915£5.99 Published by Frances Lincoln Ltd.

The story of Hassan’s first day at an English school, after his family flee the war in Somalia. It describes his sadness, and how the school helps him to feel welcome and settled. A beautiful picture book, suitable for ages 5 – 11.

Petar’s Song by Pratima Mitchell, ill. by Caroline Binch

ISBN 0 7112 2078 6 £5.99 Published by Frances Lincoln Ltd.

Beautifully illustrated story of family separation caused by war. Suitable for ages 7 – 11.

 Playing War by Kathy Beckwith, ill. by Lea Lyon

ISBN 0 88448 267 7 Published by Tilbury House

Illustrated story about understanding what war can be like for families, and that war is not a game. It’s also a sensitive story about the power of friendship and how children can learn from one another. Suitable for ages 7 – 11.

My Name was Hussein by Hristo Kyuchukov, ill. by Allan Eitzen

ISBN 1 56397 964 0 Published by Boyds Mills Press

Illustrated story sharing the life of a young Roma boy in Bulgaria, who is forced to give up his identity and his name as a result of government oppression. Suitable for ages 7 – 11.

My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin, ill. by Barbara Kiwak

ISBN 1 59078 175 9 Published by Boyds Mills Press

The story of a boy who is able to come to terms with his heritage in a seemingly hostile environment. Suitable for ages 7 – 11.

The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter

ISBN 0 15 205445 6 Published by Harcourt Inc.

The true story about a librarian’s struggle to save her community’s priceless collection of books during the war in Iraq. Beautifully illustrated and inspiring. suitable for ages 5 – 11

Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

ISBN 0 7475 5086 7   £5.99   Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

The story of Alem, a 14 year old refugee who has come to live in England. His mother is Eritrean and his father Ethiopian, and with both countries at war, he is welcome in neither place. A thought provoking book, useful for discussion in year 6, and for teacher background information.

Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Filipovic

ISBN 0 14 037463 9   £4.99   Published by Puffin

Real diary of a young girl trapped in Sarajevo when war broke out in 1992. For nearly 2 years she recorded how war touched her daily life and robbed her of her childhood. Very useful for Years 5 – 6, particularly in comparison with Anne Franks’ Diary.

 Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine
ISBN 0 237 52630 1 £4.99 Published by Evans

A biography of a Czech girl who died in the Holocaust, told in alternating chapters with an account of how the curator of a Japanese holocaust Centre learned about her life, after Hana's suitcase was sent to her. Moving and beautifully told. Suitable for ages 10 and above.

The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo

ISBN 0 14 130476 6   £4.99   Published by Puffin

A fast and vivid account of a family’s flight from threat and murder seen through the eyes of 12 year old Sade and her 10 year old brother Femi. It traces their frightening experiences in both Nigeria and England. Suitable for ages 9 - 11.

Web of Lies by Beverly Naidoo

Follow up to ‘The Other Side of Truth’

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

ISBN: 0192753762Published by Oxford University Press  £4.99
The story of two young girls in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime and after. ‘We’ve heard and read millions of words about living under the Taliban, yet it remains a distant horror. But (The Breadwinner) brings everything to poignant life ‘ (The Independent)

Parvana’s Journey and Mud City   are the second and third books in this trilogy. All three books are excellent for ages 10 upwards.

AK by Peter Dickinson
ISBN 0 330 48204 1 £4.99 Published by Macmillan

Deeply sympathetic story of a boy soldier in a fictional African country. Raises many questions about war and rebellion. Suitable for ages 11 and above.

Home is a Place called Nowhere by Leon Rosselson
ISBN 0 19 271914 9 £6.99 Published by Oxford University Press

The story of a young adopted refugee's attempt to find her real story. Ages 10 and above.

Bilingual Folk Tales

£ 3.00 or £3.60 each   Published by the Refugee Council

A series of colourful illustrated books, each telling a popular folk tale from a different country, matching the English translation against the tale told in its original language. Suitable for early years and primary schools. Each book carries details of the country where the folk tale originated.



Free, but £5.00 p+p. Distributed by UNHCR (
7 minute animated film, with teacher notes, tackling themes such as cultural differences and exile in a child-friendly way. Designed for children aged 5 - 8.

The Lion King

Cartoon about political intrigue, flight, adjustment to a new culture, identity and recovery. Suitable for children aged 4 - 11.

To be a Refugee

Free, but £5.00 p+p Distributed by UNHCR (as above)
15 minute film, showing the lives of 5 young refugees in their new homes. They came originally from Sudan, Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Afghanistan, and are currently living in Kenya, Thailand and Denmark, or have returned home. Designed for children aged 9 - 12, with teacher notes and activities.


Kosovan Journeys: Refugee children tell their stories

ISBN 0 946787 43 3   £6.00   Published by the Refugee Council

Two refugee children tell their stories in this colourful A3 book for literacy hour reading and activities.

Why Do They Have To Fight? – Refugee Children’s Stories from Bosnia, Kurdistan, Sri Lanka and Somalia

ISBN 0 946787 18 2   £4.50   Published by the Refugee Council

A source book of refugee children’s stories and paintings. Contains basic facts and figures about refugees, a short dictionary of key words and phrases, and a resource list.

Threatened Cultures: Kurds

ISBN 0 7502 0768 X£8.99   Published by Wayland

The Threatened Cultures series introduces peoples from different parts of the world. Each book concentrates on the contemporary situation of the people under discussion, as well as detailing their history and culture. The series includes a book on Tibetans.

Somali Journeys by Helen Capstick

ISBN 0 9541674 1 4   £5Published by Dingle, Granby and Toxteth EAZ

This book relates the journeys of 5 Somalis from the country in Africa where they were born, to a new life in Liverpool. As a background it provides a brief history and geography of the country as well as giving some idea of its culture and traditions. Some very interesting information and activities clearly presented.