Category Archives: Kid Life

Refugees: Their Stories

Refugees: Their Stories

An immigrant is a person who leaves his or her home country to work, study or live in a new country. Sometimes people are immigrants to get an education that is not available in their home country. Sometimes people immigrate to do a particular job or to live in a country whose customs and laws are different than their home country.

A special kind of immigrant is a refugee. Their reasons for leaving their home country are different. A refugee is a person who is fleeing his or her home country to escape danger, like a war, or to escape persecution. Persecution is being hurt based on your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group or having a particular political opinion. The United States welcomes many immigrants each year to live and work and study, as well as giving refuge to people who have fled their home country for their own safety. 

The Journey is a story that will help you understand what it is like to have to leave everything you know behind to start over somewhere new.  Below are more books written by, or about, refugees. By reading these books you can live for just a little while, in their experience. I did not grow up afraid. I did not have to worry about living in a war zone, being hurt or being persecuted. I also didn’t want to think about having to move and change schools, let alone thinking about starting a whole new life somewhere and having to learn a new language and new customs and meet all new people. I don’t know what that’s like because I never had to do it. These stories help me see the challenges that refugees face starting a new life – kids facing anxiety and fear and danger with courage. Sometimes you meet new friends in person. Sometimes you meet them in books. Here are some kids I think you will be proud to know.


Non-Fiction:

adrift-at-seaAdrift at Sea: a Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival – Tuan and his family survive bullets, a broken motor, and a leaking boat in the long days they spend at sea after fleeing Vietnam. A true story as told to the author by Tuan Ho. Includes family photographs and a historical note about the Vietnamese crisis.


immigrants-and-refugeesImmigrants and Refugees – Describes current patterns of migration around the world, including the causes and effects of immigration and emigration.


the-journey-that-saved-curious-georgeThe Journey That Saved Curious George: the True Wartime Ecape of Margret and H.A. Rey – In 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled their Paris home as the German army advanced. They began their harrowing journey on bicycles, pedaling to Southern France with children’s book manuscripts, including what would become the international sensation “Curious George,” among their few possessions. This is their dramatic story.


out-of-iraqOut of Iraq Refugees’ Stories in Words, Paintings & Music – Out of Iraq tells the stories of a number of Iraqi refugee families that have made Syria their home over the 5 years since the war in Iraq began. This book tells the stories of their flight from Iraq, the memories of home in the ‘good old days’ and their continued courage living as refugees.


a-song-for-cambodiaA Song for Cambodia – A biography of Arn Chorn-Pond who, as a young boy in 1970s Cambodia, survived the Khmer Rouge killing fields because of his skill on the khim, a traditional instrument, and later went on to help heal others and revive Cambodian music and culture.


Stories:

josephs-big-rideJoseph’s Big Ride – A refugee boy’s determination to ride a bicycle leads to an unexpected friendship.


teacupTeacup – A boy travels across the sea in a rowboat in search of a new home, making a journey that is long and difficult–but also filled with beauty and hope.


calling-the-water-drumCalling the Water Drum – A young boy loses both parents as they attempt to flee Haiti for a better life, and afterward is only able to process his grief and communicate with the outside world through playing the drums.



brothers-in-hope

Brothers in Hope: the Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
– Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek hundreds of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.


four-feet-two-sandalsFour Feet Two Sandals – Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers.


the-color-of-homeThe Color of Home – Hassan, newly-arrived in the United States and feeling homesick, paints a picture at school that shows his old home in Somalia as well as the reason his family had to leave.


how-i-learned-geographyHow I Learned Geography – As he spends hours studying his father’s world map, a young boy escapes the hunger and misery of refugee life. Based on the author’s childhood in Kazakhstan, where he lived as a Polish refugee during World War II. Newbery Honor Book


when-i-get-olderWhen I Get Older – A Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, singer and songwriter tells his own story about leaving war-torn Somalia as a child, growing up in Canada and creating a hit song that touched millions of people around the world with its powerful message of hope.


how-many-days-to-america-a-thanksgiving-storyHow Many Days to America: a Thanksgiving Story – Refugees from a Caribbean island embark on a dangerous boat trip to America where they have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.


oskar-and-the-eight-blessings

Oskar and the Eight Blessings – A young Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany arrives in New York City on the seventh night of Hanukkah and receives small acts of kindness while exploring the city.


the-journeyThe Journey – What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? A mother and is two brothers away to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation. But when the boys get to Miami, they are thrust into a world where bullies seem to run rampant and it’s not always clear how best to protect themselves.


refugeRefuge – A retelling of the nativity story from a perspective emphasizing the struggle of Mary and Joseph as refugee.


stepping-stonesStepping Stones – In this picture book, a young girl and her family are forced to flee their village to escape the civil war that has engulfed Syria and make their way toward freedom in Europe.


bamboo-peopleBamboo People – Two Burmese boys, one a Karenni refugee and the other the son of an imprisoned Burmese doctor, meet in the jungle and in order to survive they must learn to trust each other. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.


home-of-the-braveHome of the Brave – Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2009-2010, 6-8 Nominee.


inside-out-and-back-againInside Out and Back Again – Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. National Book Award Winner; Young Hoosier Book Award, 2013-2014, 4-6 Nominee; Newbery Honor Book


a-long-walk-to-waterA Long Walk to Water – When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.


the-only-roadThe Only Road – Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous journey from his home in Guatemala to his older brother in New Mexico after his cousin is murdered by a drug cartel.


the-red-pencilThe Red Pencil – After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.


serafinas-promiseSerafina’s Promise – In a poor village outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Serafina works hard to help her family, but dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor–then the earthquake hits and Serafina must summon all her courage to find her father and still get medicine for her sick baby brother as she promisedYoung Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee.


shooting-kabulShooting Kabul – Escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, eleven-year-old Fadi and his family immigrate to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fadi schemes to return to the Pakistani refugee camp where his little sister was accidentally left behind. Cybil Award for Middle Grade Nomination 2010.

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Kids Changing the World, Like You!

Kids Changing the World, Like You!

Kids Who Are Changing the World

Kids Who Are Changing the World tells the stories of forty-five children around the world who are taking steps to help the environment. Some of them are raising money, some of them are organizing peaceful protests, and some of them are raising awareness by doing art projects or speaking.

Listed below are books about more ways you can give back to your community as well as books about kids, both real and imagined, who have made a real difference.

This summer, you can be one of those kids. You can get started taking action right now! Download The Kid’s Guide to Social Action or start giving back to your community today by donating to the Gleaners Food Bank right here in Indianapolis. Donate non-perishable food items at any Library branch and earn 20 points for the Read It and Eat Summer Reading Program. (Limit 20 points per point card.)

 


Social Action Guides for Kids:

Do Something a Handbook for Young ActivistsDo Something! A Handbook for Young Activists – Describes projects for the young activist, such as fighting hunger, ending poverty, and saving the environment.


It's Your WorldIt’s Your World – In a book for young people, Chelsea Clinton informs readers about issues facing our world and what kids can do to help solve them.


The Kids' Guide to Service ProjectsThe Kids’ Guide to Service Proects – Over 500 service ideas for young people who want to make a difference.


The Power of ChildrenThe Power of Children – The Power of Children Awards program (POCA) was established in 2005. In ten years of its existence, it has recognized fifty young people who have made enormous positive impacts on their communities and the world. The Power of Children offers profiles of these fifty young trailblazers, educators, and helpers, describing the projects that led to their awards.


Pay It Forward KidsPay It Forward Kids – Meet ordinary kids from across North America who have done extraordinary things, all on their own initiatives. They have set out to pay it forward to someone else, with astonishing results. The ripple effect of their deeds have inspired others to join their causes, and in some cases, to start missions of their own. These powerful stories demonstrate that you are never too young to make a difference or to improve the life of another. Kindness can be done by anyone, you just need to step up and start.


PhilanthropartiesPhilanthroparties – Why just party when you can party with a purpose? Seventeen-year-old Lulu Cerone shows teens how to bring social activism into their daily lives—and have fun while doing it—with this colorful DIY party planning guide perfect for every socially conscious kid!


Real Kids Who Made a Difference:

Painting for Peace in FergusonPainting for Ferguson – Painting for peace in Ferguson is the story of a community coming together, hundreds of artists and volunteers, black and white, young and old, to bring hope and healing to their community using the simplest of all tools- a paintbrush. Written in child-friendly verse, the actual artwork painted on hundreds of boarded up windows in Ferguson, South Grand and surrounding areas illustrates the story.


Luna and MeLuna and Me: the True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest – Social activism combines with environmentalism in this picture book bio of Julia Butterfly Hill and Luna, the thousand-year-old redwood tree whose life she saved.


Malala Activist for Girls' EducationMalala Activist for Girls’ Education – Describes how a young Pakistani activist was violently targeted by the Taliban for her efforts to secure educational rights for girls.


Our Heroes How Kids Are Making a DifferenceOur Heroes: How Kids are Making a Difference – Biographies of ten children from around the world who never set out to be heroes or to be famous, but whose actions have made the world a better place.


The Youngest MarcherThe Young Marcher – Presents the life of nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks who became the youngest known child to be arrested for picketing against Birmingham segregation practices in 1963.


We Will Not Be SilentWe Will Not Be Silent: the White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler – A carefully researched portrait of Hans and Sophie Scholl describes how they questioned the beliefs of Austria’s Hitler Youth and risked their freedom and lives to organize a resistance campaign with other students.


We've Got a JobWe’ve Got the Job: the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March – Discusses the events of the 4,000 African American students who marched to jail to secure their freedom in May 1963.


The Boys Who Challenged HitlerThe Boys Who Challenged Hitler – Presents the story of a group of Danish boys who formed a resistance organization against the Nazi occupation of their country.


Stories About Kids Who Made a Difference:

The End of the WildThe End of the Wild – Eleven-year-old Fern helps to take care of her impoverished family by foraging for food in the forest, but when a fracking company rolls into town, she realizes that her peaceful woods and her family’s livelihood could be threatened.


FlushFlush – With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2007-2008, 6-8 Nomine.


HootHoot – Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.


Judy Moody Saves the WorldJudy Moody Saves the World – When Judy Moody gets serious about protecting the environment, her little brother Stink thinks she is overdoing it, but she manages to inspire her third grade class to undertake an award-winning, environment- saving project.


Operation RedwoodOperation Redwood – In northern California, Julian Carter-Li and his friends old and new fight to save a grove of redwoods from an investment company that plans to cut them down.


SlackerSlacker – When eighth-grader Cameron Boxer creates the Positive Action Group at school he intends it as a diversion to fool his parents, teachers, and sister into letting him continue to concentrate on his video-gaming–but before he knows it other kids are taking it seriously, and soon he finds himself president of the P.A.G., and involved in community service, so the boy who never cared about anything is now the center of everything, whether he likes it or not.


Violet Mackerel's Pocket ProtestViolet Mackerel’s Pocket Protest – Violet and Rose organize a protest to save the big oak tree in Clover Park.

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Pack Your Bags for an Adventure

Pack Your Bags for an Adventure

School is almost out and the temperature is heating up! It is a perfect time to fill you pack with an adventure novel or two and set out into the great outdoors. Find a great park near you using Indy Park’s fun finder.

Books:

The Swiss Family Robinson Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss – Shipwrecked on an isolated island in the early nineteenth century, a Swiss couple and their four sons rely upon their ingenuity and nature’s providence to survive in their “New Switzerland.”
Nature Girl Nature Girl by Jane Kelley – Forced to spend the summer with her family in rural Vermont, eleven-year-old Megan, a rebellious, immature urbanite gains self-confidence and maturity as she and her dog survive being lost on the Appalachian Trail.
Julie of the Wolves Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George – While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack.
Island Island by Gordon Korman – Six kids, Nick, J.J., Will, Lyssa, Charla, and Ian, are thrown together against their will on a small boat that will make a one-month journey on the Pacific Ocean. They have all been sent for different reasons. Luke is taking his only choice besides being sent to a juvenile detention facility for a crime he didn’t commit. Will and Lyssa are quarreling siblings sent by their parents, who hope the trip will teach them to get along better. J.J. was sent by a movie-star father after he pulled one too many pranks. Ian’s parents hoped to cure him of his TV addiction. Charla was sent because she was having an athletic “burnout.” But these six totally different kids have to learn to work together to survive a vicious storm and a shipwreck that leaves them stranded in the middle of the ocean with no food, no water, and almost no hope for survival.
Island of the Blue Dolphins Island of the Blue Dolphins by Island of the Blue Dolphins – Records the courage and self-reliance of an Indian girl who lived alone for eighteen years on an isolated island off the California coast when her tribe emigrated and she was left behind.
Hatchet Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the wilderness, learning to survive with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents’ divorce.
Like Bug Juice on a Burger Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg – As the days go on, nine-year-old Eleanor realizes that maybe being at summer camp isn’t so bad after all, and is full of special surprises.
Spy Camp Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs – As almost thirteen-year-old Ben, a student at the CIA’s academy for future intelligence agents, prepares to go to spy summer camp, he receives a death threat from the evil organization SPYDER.

If all the reading about outdoor adventures leaves you wanting to have an adventure of your own, check out the book Camp Out! , it is full of tips and guides for a successful camping experience. You will also want to check out Camp Granada for sing-along camp songs!

Camp Out Camp Out! by  R.J. Palacio – Gearing up: how to plan and what to pack — Home away from home: setting up camp — Good grub: fun food for hungry campfolk — Camping skills: tying knots, getting around, and staying found — Something’s in the air: watching the weather — What’s up?: the night sky — Backpack naturalist: experiments and projects — Crafty camping: outdooorsy arts and crafts — Letting loose: campout fun and games — Who goes there?: animal tracks and scat — The singing camper’s book of silly songs.
Camp Granada Camp Granada by Frané Lessac -Presents the lyrics for an assortment of popular camp songs, such as “Rise and Shine,” “The Peanut Song,” “Do Your Ears Hang Low,” “This Land Is Your Land,” and “Kum Ba Yah.”

Books recommended by: Kristen Williams, guest blogger and former Indianapolis school teacher

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Like Junie B. Jones

Like Junie B. Jones
If you like Junie, that girl who is always in the sass corner, try one of these for other kids who like to think (and act and talk) their OWN way:
JEAlvinHo
Series: Alvin Ho
JEAmberCrayon
Series: Amber Brown
JEAmyMixed
Series: Amy Hodgepodge
JECalvinTrouble
Series: Calvin Coconut
JEClementine
Series: Clementine
JELostTunnel
Series: Clubhouse Mysteries
JEDyamonde
Series: Dyamonde Daniel
JEIvyBean
Series: Ivy & Bean
JEJudyMoody
Series: Judy Moody
JEJulianTells
Series: Stories Julian Tells
JEStupidSmelly
Series: Junie B. Jones
JEKeenaFord
Series: Keena Ford
JELucyRose
Series: Lucy Rose
JEMoxyStuart
Series: Moxy Maxwell
JENikkiDeja
Series: Nikki & Deja
JEPiperReed
Series: Piper Reed
JEBeezusRamona
Series: Ramona Quimby
JEBraveRuby
Series: Ruby & the Booker Boys
JERubyLuBrave
Series: Ruby Lu
JEDazzleDisaster
Series: Sassy
JEStink
Series: Stink
MartyMcGuire
Series: Marty McGuire
PlumFantastic
Series: Sugarplum Fairies
Superfudge
Series: Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing
Violet
Series: Violet Mackerel
AnnaHibiscus
Series: Anna Hibiscus
DaisyDawson
Series: Daisy Dawson
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Staff Pick: The Other Boy

Staff Pick: The Other Boy

Shane Woods is the star pitcher for his baseball team which is on its way to the nationals. He is a talented artist working on a graphic novel, he’s got his awesome best friend Josh who sticks with him through everything and there’s a girl who’s smart, cute, funny and actually likes him. Shane has his fair share of struggles as most 12 year olds do; his folks are divorced, his Dad isn’t supportive of his future, he’s certainly got an arch enemy with a rival baseball team, and worst of all…he’s struggled with keeping something personal from his best friend.

Shane’s finally got everything starting to go his way when a slip of the tongue sends it all spiraling out of control and threatens to ruin the normal life he’s fought so hard to live.
M.G. Hennessey takes us on a starkly honest journey into the challenging life of a transgender child. Shane is not only likable as a character; he’s also very real and more importantly, believable while dealing with the challenge of trying to keep the life he wants as just any other boy at school, facing a dad who thinks it’s just a phase and the torment of what happens when you’re outed. The bullying and harassment are emotional for both Shane and the reader. Hennessey shows us through Shane that sometimes to grow and move forward, you have to face some trials.

The book is an important read for not just children in the LGBTQ+ community, but for all kids. It’s a look into what it’s like to be judged by what others think you should be and not who you really are. I would recommend this book for adults and kids alike and would encourage discussion when it’s finished.

Recommended by: Jayne Walters – Brightwood Library

More Staff Picks

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