Finding Refuge: Real-Life Immigration Stories from Young People
Published September 7, 2021
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About Finding Refuge
What is a refugee? This anthology recounts the personal immigration experiences of teenage refugees from around the world, including where they came from, why they left, how they arrived in the United States, and what happened next. These writers know firsthand it means to leave a beloved but unsafe homeland for a distant place where everyone speaks another language.
English teacher Victorya Rouse has assembled a collection of real-world stories essential for our times, complete with maps, context, and background on the refugees’ home countries. As immigration has catapulted into the current discourse, this poignant collection emphasizes the USA’s rich tradition of welcoming people from all over the world.
I started reading this book the week that Russia invaded Ukraine. Listening as the number of refugees escaping the country continues to grow, watching reports of people trapped in their homes with little to no food or water due to constant warfare happening around them, has truly been heartbreaking.
This book is filled with stories, some very much like what we’ve seen and heard in the first days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These are stories of families who loved their cities and homes, forced to flee due to conflict or other life-threatening situations. Every story is moving.
I liked that the book is organized by continent or area of the world. The individual stories are preceded by a short list of facts about the country where the person is from and a little bit of historical information about that area and why people have left. I felt like that kind of helped me build a little more understanding of what was happening. It also gives a little bit of a sense of how the individual stories fit into the larger global history.
For some reason, I assumed all the stories would be from refugees who’ve entered the United States within the last ten years or so, but that isn’t the case. Some of the stories are about people who arrived in their teens as far back as 1975. Most are from the last 20 years, but several are from the 1990s. It depends on the conflict and the part of the world that caused someone to become a refugee.
On the whole, I feel like I learned a lot reading this book. It seems to be a collection of stories from refugees in their own words. The stories sometimes read like a high school assignment meant to answer a series of questions. I think I expected something more like brief memoirs written from interviews between the author and the refugees.
Reading FINDING REFUGE made me want to read WE ARE DISPLACED by Malala Yousafzai. I haven’t read it yet. It seems like it would be along similar lines, but written by a a refugee herself.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
FINDING REFUGE tells the stories of refugees from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and North America. All traveled to the United States to make new homes.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
References to getting married.
Some references to faith like Christianity or Islam.
References to war. A few brief mentions of a family member being killed. A couple mentions of human trafficking and drug trafficking.
A few mentions of drug trafficking.
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