Tag Archives: refugees

Somewhere in the Unknown World

Somewhere in the Unknown World

Metropolitan Books
Paperback
288 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 9781250296856
ebook icon
audiobook icon

A Collective Refugee Memoir

Kao Kalia Yang

Available in August 2020

Back in the 1980s, Minnesota’s University Avenue was barely clinging to life. Lined with church thrift stores, boarded windows, and prostitutes leaning against streetlights, the sidewalks were thick with bloody, discarded needles. Today, University Avenue is a bustling commercial center, a hub of Halal butchers, Mexican carnicerias, grocery stores selling delicacies to new arrivals from Ethiopia and Bosnia, Iraq and China. A dying strip of America has been revived by the stateless. As the country’s doors are closing and nativism is on the rise, Kao Kalia Yang—herself a refugee from Laos—set out to tell the stories of the refugees to whom University Avenue is now home. Here are people who have summoned the energy and determination to make a new life even as they carry an extraordinary burden of hardship, loss, and emotional damage: Irina, an ex-Soviet, who still hoards magical American fruit—bananas!—under her bed; the Thai brothers of Vinai and their business selling purified water to gullible immigrants; the Kareni boys, who have brought Minnesota to basketball glory. In Yang’s exquisite, poetic, and necessary telling, the voices of refugees from all over the world restore humanity to America’s strangers and redeem its long history of welcome.

Kao Kalia Yang (c) Shee Yang

© Shee Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is the author of The Song Poet, which received the 2017 Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, and the PEN USA Literary Award. Her book The Latehomecomer also received the Minnesota Book Award. Yang, a regular contributor to NPR’s On Belief, lives in Minneapolis.

City of Thorns

City of Thorns

Picador
Paperback
400 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-11873-8

Nine Lives in the World’s Largest
Refugee Camp

Ben Rawlence

With a New Postscript

“The most absorbing book in recent memory about life in refugee camps . . . Mr. Rawlence’s major feat is stripping away the anonymity that so often is attached to the word ‘refugee’ by delving deeply into the lives of nine people in the camp.”—The Wall Street Journal

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, in the midst of an inhospitable northern Kenyan desert landscape largely characterized by thorn bushes, is Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp. Founded in 1992 as a temporary camp for 30,000 refugees fleeing violence and unrest in Sudan, it has since metastasized into a permanent home to some 500,000 people. A city like no other, its half a million residents barter their meager food rations, create homes for themselves from plastic sheets and sticks, and use open sewers. Due to its inaccessible location and the extremely high risk of kidnapping, very few western journalists have visited Dadaab, let alone spent any length of time there. Dadaab and the surrounding region are now largely controlled by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s Somalian cell, and the camp and its desperate residents have become a hotbed for recruiters. Despite these dangers, Ben Rawlence has spent large periods of the last three years in the camp and has followed the lives of six people: Guled, the conscripted child-soldier who flees to the camp across Somalia; Nisho, as old as Dadaab itself, born in the camp twenty five years ago; and Muna, whose marriage to a Christian Lost Boy from Sudan sparks uproar and sectarian violence. Ben’s sensitive portraits of the camp’s inhabitants invite readers to imagine how they might behave should they, like so many millions of people around the world, find themselves imprisoned in such a camp with little hope and with the world’s eyes firmly askance.

© Jonny Donovan

© Jonny Donovan

Ben Rawlence is a former researcher for Human Rights Watch in the horn of Africa. He is the author of Radio Congo and has written for a wide range of publications, including The Guardian, the London Review of Books, and Prospect. He lives in the Black Mountains in Wales with his wife and daughter.

City of Thorns has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Michigan State University and the City of East Lansing (MI)

Continue reading

Butterfly

Butt

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
288 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 9781250184405
ebook icon
audiobook icon

From Refugee to Olympian—My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph

Yusra Mardini

“[Mardini] offers an exceedingly rare window into middle-class girlhood in the middle of one of the most destructive wars of our time, and an even rarer start-to-finish account of the arduous migrant journey into Europe.”

The New York Times

When young Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini realized her boat’s engine shut down as she was traveling from Syria to Greece with other refugees, there was no hesitation: she dove into the water. Surfacing, she heard desperate prayers and sobbing from the passengers in the sinking boat above her. Between the waves, her elder sister Sarah screamed at her to get back on the boat. But Mardini was determined. She was not going to let Sarah do this alone. Grabbing the rope with one hand, she began kicking up the black water, inching the boat towards the distant shore. This bold act of bravery saved the lives of a boatload of refugees heading to Turkey from Syria. After her arrival in Greece, Mardini, focused and undeterred, worked toward a lifelong goal: to compete in the Olympics. She succeeded, and competed in 2016 on the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro. Butterfly tells her story, from Syria to the Olympics to her current work with the UN as a Goodwill Ambassador. Mardini is eager to tell her story in the hopes that readers will remember that refugees are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, chased from their homes by a devastating war. In today’s political climate, this story is guaranteed to inspire and educate readers from every background.

Mardini, Yusra

© Thomas Duffé

Yusra Mardini is an Olympic swimmer and a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. She competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team. Mardini is from Damascus, Syria.

Continue reading

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

Flatiron Books
Paperback
304 pages • $17.99
ISBN: 9781250106001
ebook icon
audiobook icon

The Journey of Doaa Al Zamel

One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

Melissa Fleming

With an author interview with Humans of New York’s Brandon Stanton
Winner of the ALA/YALSA Alex Award

“This deeply affecting book recounts the story of a young Syrian, Doaa Al Zamel . . . Fleming brings a moral urgency to the narrative. Doaa is now safe in Sweden, but Fleming pointedly asks, ‘Why is there no massive resettlement program for Syrians—the victims of the worst war of our times?'”—The New Yorker 

Melissa Fleming shares the harrowing journey of Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian refugee in search of a better life. Doaa and her family leave war-torn Syria for Egypt where the climate is becoming politically unstable and increasingly dangerous. She meets and falls in love with Bassem, a former Free Syrian Army fighter and together they decide to leave behind the hardship and harassment they face in Egypt to flee for Europe, joining the ranks of the thousands of refugees who make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean on overcrowded and run-down ships to seek asylum overseas and begin a new life. After four days at sea, their boat is sunk by another boat filled with angry men shouting threats and insults. With no land in sight and surrounded by bloated, floating corpses, Doaa is adrift with a child’s inflatable water ring around her waist, while two little girls cling to her neck. Doaa must stay alive for them. She must not lose strength. She must not lose hope.

© Alessandra Thomsen

Melissa Fleming is Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the United High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and one of the world’s experts on refugees. She is a frequent contributor for The New York TimesThe Washington Post, CNN, and NPR. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea is her first book.

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Shawnee State University (OH)

Continue reading