UNHCR Annual Refugee Book Reading Campaign


Imagine being forced to flee your country in order to escape to safety.  It’s difficult to imagine but sadly it is the reality for 25.9 million people around the world.  Thankfully, UNHCR protect and assist those who are forced to flee their homes.  To mark World Refugee day on Saturday 20th June, UNHCR will hold their annual refugee book reading campaign in partnership with libraries and bookshops.  The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Everyone counts’.  We are living through extraordinary times where the world grapples with Covid-19.  We must all work together to make sure everyone is protected and no one is left behind.    

We invite you to stand together with refugees and read a refugee book (I have chosen The Beekeeper of Aleppo as my next read).  Below is a list of books available to request on Borrowbox.


Mornings in Jenin

Mornings in Jenin(eAudiobook or eBook)

Author: Susan Abulhawa. Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart; his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

The Beekeeper of Aleppo (eAudiobook or eBook)

Author: Christy Lefteri. Publisher: Zaffre.

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist.  They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens.  When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. 

Afra has lost her sight, and so they embark on a perilous journey towards an uncertain future in Britain.  As they travel, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is his beekeeper cousin Mustafa, who is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

Nuri and Afra set off through a broken world, on a dangerous journey in which they will confront the pain of their unfathomable  loss, and in doing so find a way back to each other again.

A thousand splendid suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns(ebook)

Author: Khaled Hosseini. Publisher: Bloomsbury.

It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

The ungrateful refugee

The Ungrateful Refugee(eAudiobook & eBook)

Author: Dina Nayeri. Publisher: Canongate Books

Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother, and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee camp.  Eventually she was granted asylum in America.  Now, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with those of other asylum seekers in recent years.

The kiterunner

The Kite Runner(ebook)

Author: Khaled Hosseini. Publisher: Bloomsbury. Age: 14+

Now a major film, international bestseller, The Kite Runner is a deeply moving debut novel. The book tells the story of boyhood friendship cut across class boundaries. Their relationship is imaginatively told against the backdrop of social upheaval in Afghanistan.

Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl(eBook)

           Author: Anne Frank Age: 11+.

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a 13-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. Her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

I am David

 I Am David(eAudiobook)

Author: Anne Holm. Publisher: Methuen Young Books. Age: 9+

This is the tale of a young boy who has spent all of his known life in a concentration camp and the story begins as he is helped to escape by one of the guards. David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark

The unforgotten coat

The Unforgotten Coat(eAudiobook & eBook)

Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce  Age: 9+

Two refugee brothers from Mongolia are determined to fit in with their Liverpool schoolmates, but bring so much of Mongolia to Bootle that their new friend and guide, Julie, is hard-pressed to know truth from fantasy as she recollects a wonderful friendship that was abruptly ended when Chingis and his family were forced to return to Mongolia. Told with the humour, warmth and brilliance of detail which characterizes Frank Cottrell Boyce's writing, this magical and compelling story is enriched by stunning and atmospheric Polaroid photos.

The silver sword

The Silver Sword(eAudiobook & eBook)

Author: Ian Serraillier. Publisher: Red Fox. Age: 9+.

This is a story about how the Balicki family is torn apart by the Germans from their home in Warsaw, Poland, in 1940, and how they succeed in reuniting themselves in Switzerland at the end of the war. Of course, after five years of extraordinary deprivation, fear and grief, the Balickis are not much like the people that they were before the war started. The children have grown up. But, in time, they are all ready to make a new start.


Refugee (eBook)

Author: Alan Gratz Publisher: Scholastic Fiction Age: 10+

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany.  With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994.  With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America.

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015.  With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek towards Europe.

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge.  All will face unimaginable dangers – from drownings to bombings to betrayals.  But there is always the hope of tomorrow.  This action packed novel tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival and the quest for home.