Please welcome Alma P. Dobbs back with her sequel to the award-winning debut, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. She posted previously on Middle Grade Books with Refugee Themes so I’m pleased to be building on this list.
The Other Side of the River by Alma P. Dobbs
This is the sequel to Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. Petra is 12 years old and has safely crossed from Mexico to the Texas border with her family but still faces uncertainty. The refugee camp is stricken with smallpox, and she leads them to San Antonio to build a new life but still, things are not easy. Even though this book is set in the 1920s, it’s striking how some things have not changed. Petra still faces racism for being brown and smallpox is not eradicated. Even though this is historical fiction, it feels oddly modern and of the moment. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
We are giving away one signed copy of The Other Side of the River by Alma P. Dobbs. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
Middle Grade Books with Refugee Themes
I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin
This story follows Celeste, a clever 12-year-old girl who comes of age during the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile. Celeste has big dreams and her life is suddenly disrupted when she is sent to live in Maine, in the United States. This is a part of history I knew very little about and I appreciated the way Agosin presented the story since it parallels many refugee stories. [middle grade, ages 11 and up]
Escape From Aleppo by N.H. Senzai
Twelve-year-old Nadia is celebrating her birthday when her hometown is ravaged by bombs during the start of the Arab Spring. She and her family flee Syria with the goal to reach family in Turkey not knowing if they’ll get to see another day. Senzai’s does an incredible job of portraying life-like characters that make you feel like you’re there fearing for your life and hoping for a better tomorrow. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
Serafina lives in Haiti and dreams of becoming a doctor despite the poverty and the struggles that surround her. She and her family are forced to move after a flood and when an earthquake hits Haiti, Serafina struggles to maintain her dream alive. Characters like Serafina show us that despite the odds children face, they still have dreams and it’s their grit that makes us cheer for them on every page. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Amira, a twelve-year-old girl in Sudan, has a dream to go to school. She’s about to make this dream come true when the Janjaweed attacks her village and turns her life upside. Amira now has to dig deep for the strength to make it to the safety of a refugee camp. I enjoyed this beautiful book written in verse where every single word is meaningful and puts you next to Amira. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood
This book is based on the story of thirteen-year-old Ken Sparks who escapes the London Blitz during WWII aboard the SS City of Benares. A German U-boat torpedoes his ship sending Ken and his friend to scramble for safety aboard a lifeboat where their only hope is to survive. The research for this novel is incredible and the historical notes at the end of the book are very interesting and insightful. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
Signed copy of The Other Side of the River GIVEAWAY!
We are giving away one signed copy of The Other Side of the River by Alma P. Dobbs. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
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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.