Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Non-Fiction Picture Books Scream

art by Sarah S. Brannen
Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

            That name "Assad" continues to be in the news, continues not to have anyone confront him, continues to be supported by Russia. Protests happened years ago and those protesting lost to tanks and bombs and soldiers, and they have continued to have to escape for their safety. This book by Don Brown, like his "Drowned City" about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, is a heartbreaking one, told in frightened pictures, over and over again. Starting in 2011, refugees flood out of war-torn Syria. The surprising numbers of fleeing victims have overwhelmed neighboring countries, and chaos has followed. Resentment in host nations heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grows. By 2017, many want to turn their backs on the victims. The refugees are "the unwanted". I recently read a news article telling of the resentment felt by East Germans from the pressure of over one million refugees arriving in their country. Evidently, those in the East still feel their lives are not as good as those in West Germany.

       A long time ago, an older couple became friends with my parents. They were lovely people and I loved visiting them, ate my first pita bread in their home. I'm sure they have passed on now, but also remember them visiting family in Syria in those years. I know they would be horrified at what has happened to their country. Don Brown shows moments of both horror and hope in this continuing  Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.

      Brown has visited refugee camps in Greece and offers short pieces in the backmatter about each one. In addition to his postscript, there are few good things to share. He says there are 5.7 million registered Syrian refugees. In the first three months of this year, 2018, the United States has accepted eleven for resettlement. There are also source notes and a bibliography. The heartbreaking final page is a poem titled "Hope Behind The Shadow of Pain!", showing a young child drawing the word "Hope" on a refugee tent.
       For anyone who wants to read and feel the refugee plight, this book is one to read and share, with friends, with students.


Thanks for visiting!