Tonight T chose what I believe is an incredibly important story (that everybody should read) for his bedtime story – My Name is not Refugee by Kate Milner.
The story begins with a mother explaining to her son that they have to leave their home town because it is not safe. She then offers to tell him what it will be like.
We learn lots of heart-breaking things that show how difficult it must be for people who have to flee their homes. The pair have to say goodbye to old friends (T thought the picture here was Daddy 😭) and can only pack one bag.
The book then describes their journey and uses repetition effectively to show length and timescales and also shows how the pair will experience loneliness and also overcrowding.
We also see the boy and mother sleeping outside (described as a strange place) and also experience through the illustrations the difficulties that would be caused by language barriers.
Eventually, the pair arrive somewhere safe (but only safe – it’s small and sparse) and unpack. The boy begins school and mother reminds him that he will, “be called Refugee but remember – Refugee is not your name.”
This is an important, brilliant, beautiful, heart-wrenching book. The author has done an incredible job of showing that the mother and child are just normal people, like the reader, something which in the modern world can easily be forgotten. The story is sad, but at the same time hopeful and strong and very child accessible. There are even blue boxes with question/discussion prompts on most pages. We will be reading this again and I will be using this in the classroom.
T really understood the messages in this book. I asked him how he thought the boy might feel and he said, “he be sad if he have to leave home and be outside. We should make him a nice new bed. It’s nice and warm and safe.” Nearly had me in tears!
You should read this book. You can get a copy here: