With the refugee crisis on the rise, these middle grade books about refugees can help kid and adult readers recognize that refugees are people just like them. For this list, I focused on books about people forced to leave their homeland — not those immigrating by choice (in search of greener pastures). If you’re looking for that, see our list of middle grade books about immigration and the immigrant experience. Many stories on this list are about kids escaping tough situations and sometimes still running into prejudice and poor welcomes at the border of the nations to which they’ve run. Some of them show the joyful lives refugees enjoy before things turn bad in the countries of their birth. I hope this list can help readers build empathy for all kinds of refugees (from all areas of the world).
The Doll is a picture book based on true life events. When a family arrives as refugees from war-torn Vietnam. The family is understandable disoriented and the children cling to their mother at the airport. There, a little girl hands a doll to the youngest daughter. The small gift is welcoming, reassuring to the child and stays with her throughout her childhood and into adulthood. Eventually, she is able to hand that same doll to another child from a family of refugees at another airport.