Forced to Flee: Visual Stories by Refugee Youth from Burma

Erika Berg. Erika Berg, $29.95 trade paper (183p) ISBN 978-0-9908910-0-0
Between 2011 and 2014, Berg traveled to Burmese refugee communities in Thailand, India, Bangladesh, and the United States to create workshops in which children could tell their stories with artwork. Selected images from the more than 1,200 participants are presented in an attractive full-color format, each with commentary both on the artist's life and on the broader situation to which the image refers. Readers can easily digest the included information on Burmese history and current conflicts, as well as the insight into the traumas and challenges facing children in the midst of long-term military conflict. The drawings typically answer prompting questions such as "What do you remember most about your journey to safety?" or "What do you miss most about Burma?" Their power for an American audience derives from the artists' ability to express private struggles and grief with universally understandable images that transcend language and cultural barriers. The book as a whole articulates the human cost of systematic abuses in a profoundly approachable, moving way. Berg finishes the heart-opening, informative collection with images of resilience and hope as well as practical information on self-education and volunteering possibilities for readers inspired to reach out in support of refugees. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 11/02/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
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