Wisp by Zana Fraillon

One day, a Wisp flew in on the evening wind. Dust rose up in swarms around it, feet trampled it into the dirt, nobody noticed it.

Nobody, except Idris.

Zana Fraillon , author of the Bone Sparrow and The ones that disappeared –  has again touched upon such an important topic that needs more action – the people who have to live in refugee camps for long periods of time.

So many people flee their home countries every day in our world and most of these people end up in Refugee camps because they have left  everything they own behind them.

However, The story of wisp focuses on hope- hope that one day there will be more to life than just wire fences, tents and desolation.

A small boy by the name of Idris sits alone one day only to notice a small wisp floating around the camp, resting on those it passes by.

With each touch, the Wisp brings magic. With each touch, the wisp brings memories.

Memories get passed around on the wisp as adults and older children remember the wonderful things that had happened to them – before they became refugees and  lived in the camp.

But when Idris, the main character of the story holds the wisp close, nothing happens, as all he knows is life in the camp.

But Idris sees past this and  realises that the wisp for him can be a promise – a promise of life beyond the fence, a life full of excitement, adventure and love.

Wisp allows the reader to see that there is hope and with continued pressure on the government to help there people, someday they will all be able to make wonderful memories again.

So what else can you do? 

Join my facebook group where we talk about ways we can inform children and the wider community about the big issues facing us today:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sociallyconsciouschildren/about/

Teacher notes: https://www.hachette.com.au/content/resources/9780734418043-teachers-resources.pdf

Visit: http://refugeecampauburn.com.au and book a time to visit what a refugee camp looks like.

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Act: Join groups that send books and packages to children in dentention: https://befriendachildindetention.wordpress.com

Even something as small as a letter can bring hope to a child in detention. 

Ask:

  • How can we give children in detention hope?
  • Explore other books about refugees – do these all give hope?
  • Draw your own wisp and draw what would be inside of it if you had to live in a refugee camp.
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Room on our rock by Kate and Jol Temple.

I’ve never heard of a forwards backwards book! How did they do it?

A class of Kindergarten children were in awe of Room on our Rock by Kate and Jol Temple and amazed by the Temple’s ability to write a book that could be read both from the front cover and then from the back cover – and make complete sense – and tell two different stories! Amazing!!

Room on our Rock is a picture book designed to make us see one event from two different perspectives. The reader is able to see how words, when used in different tones and order can make completely different meanings.

Two seals are in need of a home because theirs is being washed away – will the seals on the nearby rock help them? It depends on your perspective of the issue and the way you read the book!

This book made sense to many young children as they know what is going on in our world – they know there are people losing their homes due to war, climate change and poverty but being small means many of them feel that they can’t do a lot.

After we read this book we talked about what we can do – and that by buying this book, our school has helped the Refugee Action Support Program.

Room on our rock is such a clever book with a strong and important message that all children will understand (and hopefully pass this knowledge onto their older family members).

Room on our Rock shows us that all people and creatures are equal and if only we change our perspective we might just see how we can view a tricky situation in a different light.

So what can you do at home?

  • Find out what your local council does for refugees in your area. Is there any way you can help or ask them to provide better help?
  • Who is the Refugee Action Support program group? FInd out more about what they do.
  • Who are climate refugees? Explore te Kiribati Islands and the plans they have in place in case of the seas continuing to rise.
  • Investigate which animals will be displaced due to rising and warming seas. Where will these animals live?
  • Can you create a link between this book and your library? Try and find other books about refugees. Could you have a fundraiser that supports refugees in your country? Or is there a need for books in good condition to be donated or sold for money?

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

I read my first real graphic novel in my twenties – Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – it was amazing. Not only the storytelling and the story to be told, but the fact that this huge and terrible part of history could be told in a simple and easier to understand way.


Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin also does just that. We are all very aware of the horrible refugee crisis in our world but perhaps many of us do not know of the journey that these people need to go through in order to reach a new country.

Told through the eyes of young Ebo, we learn about where he lives in Africa and his desire to leave his home town where there is no work and little family left. Following his older brother he makes a dangerous journey into the town of Agadez where he meets his older brother. It is there that they work hard to leave the city and make the perilious journey through desert and then the sea for a better life.

The reader experiences the highs and the many lows of Ebo’s journry. Giovanni Rigano’s illustrations show the reader the love, hope and desperation of the people. We are also able to see the harshness of the desert and the terror of the sea.

Through  Coulfer and Donkin’s storytelling we feel Ebo’s emotions, understand his desires and hope for a better future with him.

We meet other refugees who also desire a better life and we learn why they risk everything in order to reach a country, which they think will help them.

Illegal is a story that needs to be shared. The way refugees are treated by many countries is beyond comprehension and this story just shows how desparate theses people are. No one would ever undertake the journey if they didn’t need to.

At the end of the story the reader can view a map with explanation of where Ebo travels which I found and those children I shared the story with most informative.

There is also another short graphic story at the end of Illegal, that speaks to us about a young refugee woman. This story brings to light the plight of young women who may be travelling with young children or pregnant and their desperation to flee terror and poverty.

Illegal is a story to share and a story to reflect on. It is a story that will hopefully stir emotion and action so that more people do not need to take these journeys.

 

So what can you do?

  • Find out where the refugees in your country are from and plot the journey they have taken to get to your country.

 

  • Find some news articles that tell you a story about someone who has come you’re your country as a refugee. Find out how they came here, who they left behind or lost and what they needed to do.

 

  • Look at how the graphic novel is set out and create your own graphic novel that will teach others about an important story like this one.

 

  • See if there is a way you can help people who are refugees in your country.

You could:

– Write a letter to your local member, Premier or Prime Minister.

– Contact Local refugee organisations and see if there is any way you can help.

– Raise awareness in your community by submitting a short graphic novel to the local newspaper or school newsletter.

 

  • Learn more about the UN charter of rights and also the Rights of a child. Which rights did Ebo, his brother and many people not have along the journey? Can you think of anyone you know who is not being given all of their rights?

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Do you really know what happens to refugees once they arrive in camps?

Have you ever considered how long some of these people live in these camps?

 

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Frailly is a must read for every Australian across all ages from 10 and up.

It is confronting – this takes place in most developed countries who sprout how peaceful and caring we are.

It is full of hope – Friendships blossom, dreams are big and stories are told.

It has sadness – too many times throughout the story we hear about loved ones left overseas, lost in war or on the journey to a seemingly better life.

Through the eyes of young Subhi we see what life is like within these refugee camps. Subhi is a storyteller, a reader and a dreamer, He knows nothing apart from life within a camp – it was where he was born so he doesn’t know any different except for the stories he is told by his mother, sister and friends.

We follow Subhi and his daily encounters  in the camp and understand what life is like and the unrest felt by those within. We dream with him and see the night see bring him gifts from a far off land.

But things change once he meets Jimmie – an unexpected friend who comes from outside of the fence. Together they go on a journey through a story written down by someone Jimmie has lost. Over hot chocolate and jokes they share secrets and slowly mend each other’s wounds.

The bone Sparrow is a powerful story. Your heart will break, you will cry and you will laugh. You will live alongside Subhi as he dreams his life on the other side of the fence. This book is a must read for everyone.