There are hundreds of wonderful, evocative, harrowing, and inspiring books about refugees and their plight for safety and a new life. We've collected some suggestions here. If you read anything you think others would like, please drop us a line so we can include it here too!
- The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman. Following the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the director of the Warsaw Zoo and his wife saved the lives of 300 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto by sheltering them within the zoo.
- Say You're One of Them - Uwem Akpan. Collection of short stories by Nigerian author highlighting the human toll of the many conflicts that have affected African refugees, including the Musliim-Christian conflict in Ethiopia and the Rwandan Genocide.
- Little Bee - Chris Cleave. A dual narrative about a Nigerian asylum seeker and a British magazine editor during the oil conflict in the Niger Delta, this beautifully written novel explores the treatment of refugees by the asylum system as well as issues of colonialism, globalization, political violence, and personal accountability. (In British editions, titled The Other Hand.)
- What Is the What - Dave Eggers. Novel based on the story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese child refugee who emigrated to the U.S. under the Lost Boys program.
- Exit West - Moshin Hamid. Pakistani author recounts the story of migrants Saeed and Nadia, who leave an unnamed country in the midst of a civil war and flee through Greece, England, and eventually the U.S. Selected for the 2017 Booker Prize longlist.
fiction - Young Adult
- The Good Braider - Terry Faris. The author writes in free verse and striking images about her family's journey from war-torn Sudan to Cairo to Portland, Maine.
- Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai. Verse novel that won the National Book Award in 2011 and two Newberry honors.
- Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey - Margaret Ruurs / Nizam Ali Badr. A picture book that creates a story about the Syrian refugee crisis through the eyes of Rama and her family, who are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape a raging civil war.
- Refugee Boy - Benjamin Zaphaniah. Haunting story of a 14 year-old refugee from Ethiopia and Eritrea.
- Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis - Stephen Bauman, Matthew Sorens, Issam Smeir. Experts from World Relief, a global organization serving refugees, provide a practical guide from a Christian perspective about the plight of refugees and the opportunity "we have to love our neighbors as ourselves."
- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier - Ishmael Beah. The chilling story of a child refugee who is eventually enlisted as a child soldier in Sierra Leone at the age of 13.
- The Diary of a Young Girl (a.k.a. "The Diary of Anne Frank") - Anne Frank. Most of us have read the harrowing, human account of teenager Frank who describes her family's hiding in an attic during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands for two years. It is a brutal reminder of the horrors of war and the inherent spirit in refugees to survive and thrive.
- We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families - Philip Gourevitch. Journalist travels to Rwanda after the Genocide to interview survivors in the hope of making sense of the horror that took place. The book provides a somber evaluation of brutal oppression by those who survived.
- Violent Borders - Reece Jones. This book looks at border policies across the globe, and makes the case that borders are essentially a modern construct in human history, making us rethink our understanding of how the world and its different countries all fit together. Jones provides an alternative history of human movement and connects the dots between many of the world's migration crises.
- Human Cargo: A Journey Among Refugees - Caroline Moorehead. Journalist Moorehead spent two years exploring why millions of people are forced to abandon their homes, possessions, and families to find a place where they are simply allowed to live.
- The Lightless Sky - Gulwali Passerlay. Passerlay is an Afghan in his early twenties, who describes his journey from a war zone through much of Europe, all on his own, when he was 12 or 13 years old. Like Ismael Beah and Anne Frank, his story is told in the words of a refugee, about what it is like to be a refugee.