Friday, October 25, 2013

Making it Home

Front CoverMaking it Home
Real-life Stories from Children Forced to Flee
introduction by Beverley Naidoo

Dial Books

Ages 10+

Nothing screams the devastation of war louder than the plight of children orphaned and turned into refugees. Wars and conflicts they neither started nor understood rips apart their secure lives leaving scars that may never heal.

Making it Home collects real-life stories as told by the kids who hold on to vivid happy memories of home even as they struggle with the loss of all that they know as stable and loving, as a result of war or conflict in their region.

Stories are collected from the ravages of human hostilities in eight regions - Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Liberia, Sudan and Burundi. Each chapter gives a brief history of the conflict, along with a map of the region, and the efforts to set things right there.

Some of the stories are by children born as refugees in a different country, while others are by children who had to flee with their family at a very young age. While the former group of kids long for the connection with the land of their forebears, the latter group carry the old country in their hearts, distinctly remembering minute details as the color of their house, the community television kept outside the house for neighbors and friends to watch together, the walk to the park on New Year's eve, the special mango tree in their garden... always longing to go back even as they bravely adapt to live in a new country.

"Is justice sleeping or is it a dream? If justice is sleeping, who will wake up justice?"

In her introduction, Ms.Naidoo states that a sixteen-year-old Palestinian girl in a desperately poor district of Amman, Jordan, asked this question. Her family had been living there as refugees, across the border from their homes, for over fifty years.

I was expecting to be an emotional wreck after reading this book, but, was surprised by the optimism that shone through the honest words of the children. They shared no bitterness, no rancor, just a sharp ache that won't go away despite their efforts to get integrated in a new culture and community.

The information is balanced and presented without too much of the grim and gruesome details that might torment the young readers.

[image source: google books]

1 comment:

sandhya said...

This sounds like an interesting book, Sheela. On my 'to buy' list.

So many of the holocaust books featuring children - Anne Frank's Diary, Ziata's Diary, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, etc., would fall in this category.

Duckbill publishers in India have a series of books in the same vein that might be of interest here. NOW (Not Our War) books, that deal with the stories of children growing up in conflict conditions.

Here's their FB page - sounds like a good series. They have two books already published, with more in the pipeline.

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