What Is a Refugee?

Elise Gravel. Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-12005-7
The opening spread of this explanatory resource for younger readers shows a crowd of people with varying skin tones and hair colors—refugees, the image implies, don’t all look one way. “A refugee is a person, just like you and me,” Gravel (The Worst Book Ever) writes. Simple, cartoon-style line drawings give the pages an easy, informal feel. Gravel lists reasons refugees may have had to leave their countries (“because they were in danger,” “because powerful people didn’t like what they thought”) and outlines the process by which they find new homes (“refugees had to find another country to live in, and that’s not easy”). She avoids scary images while making the gravity of circumstances clear: on one spread, a graphic-style explosion on the left drives away an adult and three children who look anxious but not distraught. The distinction between “refugees” and the “you and me” of Gravel’s address seems to assume that the text’s readers have no refugees among them, a potential obstacle to wider readership. An engaging spread at the book’s conclusion, titled “Refugee Kids Speak,” offers short quotes and drawings of interviewed refugee kids; another shares short biographies of famous refugees. Ages 3–7. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/05/2019
Release date: 09/24/2019
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 32 pages - 978-0-593-12006-4
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