Refugee Stories for Teens

Whenever I read news stories about the struggle of refugees around the world, I can't help but wonder what that experience must be like. The thought of uprooting a life you've worked so hard to build, embarking on a grueling and dangerous journey, and starting all over in an unfamiliar country is absolutely astonishing to me.

As a big believer in the power of reading to cultivate empathy and understanding, I've rounded up a few teen book titles to help put a human face on the refugee experience (special thanks to fellow KCLS blogger, Hope, for her help with these book recommendations).

The Good Braider

Through stunning free-verse poems, The Good Braider  tells the story of Viola, a teenage girl in war-torn Sudan whose family flees on foot to Egypt before ultimately settling in Portland, Maine, where Viola struggles to reconcile the cultural expectations of her family with the realities of her new home country.

Bamboo People (Book)

Bamboo People (eBook)

A coming-of-age tale dynamically narrated by two teenage boys on opposing sides of a civil war, Bamboo People is both a thrilling jungle survival story and a revealing look at the ongoing ethnic conflict in contemporary Myanmar (Burma).

Blue Gold

The stories of three girls on three different continents, among them a Congolese refugee living in Tanzania, are tied together through the fraught issue of mining for Blue Gold, a mineral used in making cell phones and computers.

On Two Feet and Wings

Author Abbas Kazerooni was just 9-years-old when a devastating series of circumstances forced him to make the journey to Istanbul from his home in Iran...completely on his own. In his efforts to obtain a visa to move to England, this little boy must call upon his own bravery and ingenuity to navigate both Istanbul and British bureaucracy.

Children of War

In this eye-opening series of interviews, teens and children who have fled from Iraq to Jordan or Canada tell their own stories about life as Iraqi refugees.

You can view the full list of book recommendations here. Or, if you're more of a graphic novel fan, check out this list of comics and graphic novels about the immigrant and refugee experience.

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