Please welcome my guest author today, Alda B. Dobbs. She has a list of middle grade books with refugee themes. We are also giving away her debut book, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda B. Dobbs
It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna’s mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows to him that she will care for the family she has left―her Abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito―until they can be reunited. They flee north through the unforgiving desert as their town burns, searching for a safe harbor in a world that offers none.
Each night when Petra closes her eyes, she holds her dreams close, especially her long-held desire to learn to read. Abuelita calls these barefoot dreams: “They’re like us barefoot peasants and indios―they’re not meant to go far.” But Petra refuses to listen. Through battlefields and deserts, hunger, and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border―a life where her barefoot dreams could finally become reality. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Middle Grade Books with Refugee Themes
Refugee by Alan Gratz
A harrowing middle grade story that follows three children from different places, cultures, and times. Their common factor is that they’re escaping the injustices and violence of their own homelands. I enjoyed this story because it shows three distinct voices and periods of time yet it lets you experience the similarities in these three characters’ suffering, hopes, and dreams. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illustrated by and Iman Geddy
This phenomenal middle grade book tells the story of two siblings, Omar and Hassan, that take place in a refugee camp in Kenya. I really appreciated this book because my own great-grandmother told stories about her time in a refugee camp. [middle grade graphic novel, ages 9 and up]
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lai
In this beautiful middle grade story, Hà’s peaceful life in a small village in Vietnam is interrupted by war. She and her family are forced to leave the only world Hà has ever known and try to make it in America. The book, written in verse, describes the pain of leaving your homeland and trying to adjust to a new culture and environment. [middle grade novel in verse, ages 8 and up]
Brother’s Keeper by Julie Lee
This middle grade book follows twelve-year-old Sora and her family’s plan to escape the war that has gripped her country of North Korea. The plan, however, falls short and it’s up to Sora to get her and her brother to safety despite the harsh winter and ruthless soldiers. I loved this book because it was inspired by a true family story like my own. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Yara’s Spring by Jamal Saeed and Sharon E. McKay
This is another wonderful middle grade that follows Yara during the Arab Spring as she and her younger brother try to escape the violence and bombings in Syria. I enjoyed this book because of the similarities between Jamal Saeed’s story and my family’s own story of walking through the desert to escape the violence in their homeland. [young adult, ages 13 and up]
Tani’s New Home: A Refugee Finds Hope and Kindness in America by Tanitoluwa Adewumi, illustrated by Courtney Dawson
This heartwarming picture book tells the story of Adewumi who flees the reign of Terror in Nigeria and after he arrives in America, he finds solace in chess, ultimately becoming a master at the game. I enjoyed the story because of how chess is used as a vehicle of hope to show acts of kindness. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna GIVEAWAY!
We are also giving away her debut book, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Alda P. Dobbs is the author of the upcoming novel Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. She was born in a small town in northern Mexico but moved to San Antonio, Texas as a child. Alda studied physics and worked as an engineer before pursuing her love of storytelling. She’s as passionate about connecting children to their past, their communities, different cultures, and nature as she is about writing. Alda lives with her husband and two children outside Houston, Texas. Connect with her via her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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p.s. Related posts:
FREE Classroom Empathy Kit: Immigration & Refugees
Modern Immigration & The Refugee Experience Books for Kids
The Chinese Exclusion Act – What They Don’t Teach in History Books
Vietnamese American Children’s Books
Picture Books about What Makes A House A Home
10 Middle Grade Books about Immigrant Families
Undocumented Immigrants in Children’s Literature
Immigrant Story: In The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
6 thoughts on “Middle Grade Books with Refugee Themes & GIVEAWAY!”
Younger readers might enjoy, A Feast for Joseph, written by Terry Farish and OD Bonny and illustrated by Ken Daley. This delightful picture book is about adjusting to a new home and the pleasure of cooking and sharing food with friends.
This is a great book list, and such an important topic
So many important books here! Looking forward to reading yours, Alda. Congrats!
I adored Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lai. I also enjoyed the Parvana’s Journey series by Deborah Ellis which loosely falls under this category.
I loved Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin and just bought my daughter the young reader’s version.