I write many children’s non-fiction books but some are particularly special to me. Far From Home: Refugees Fleeing War, Persecution and Poverty is one of them.
The crisis in context
Commissioned by Franklin Watts in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe, it felt like an important book to write – to highlight the crisis and to put it into context.
The stories and images of refugees fleeing war-torn areas in the Middle East are heart-breaking. Unfortunately, the displacement of millions due to war, persecution and extreme poverty is nothing new. My book examines the root causes of the current mass movements of people and follows refugees and migrants on their perilous journey to reach safety.
I use first-hand accounts to tell of the dangers on the way, explain the refugees’ mixed experiences in camps and destination countries, and the physical and psychological suffering that they endure. I explore the variety of responses from host countries, from offering a warm welcome to closing the borders, bringing the challenges of coping with the migrant crisis into sharp focus.
A resource for educators
Far From Home is intended as a resource for children, parents and teachers to help them to understand and talk about the crisis in the Middle East, and how other countries are dealing with it. And I want to help it to reach its intended audience.
Migrant English Project
I’m a volunteer at the Migrant English Project in Brighton, teaching English every week to refugees and migrants. I featured the project in the book, and when it came out, my fellow volunteers were interested in buying it as vehicle to discuss refugee issues with friends and relatives.
Amnesty International, Brighton
Ed and Ros at my local Amnesty bookshop were keen to promote the book too, and we decided to have a stall at Brighton Council’s flagship Refugee Week event at the Brighton Dome. It was lovely to talk to people about the book and how it could assist educators working with children and even local councils planning to accept Syrian refugees under the government resettlement scheme.