Applying RefugeeCrit to Recent Middle Grade/Young Adult Children's Literature About Refugees

Hope, Julia. 2023. Applying RefugeeCrit to Recent Middle Grade/Young Adult Children's Literature About Refugees. In: Evyn Le Espiritu Gandhi and Vinh Nguyen, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 190-201. ISBN 9780367674762 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Since 2002 I have been researching children’s literature about the refugee experience, identifying early on the exponential growth of books in this “emergent genre.” By the time of the publication of my book Children’s Literature about Refugees: A Catalyst in the Classroom in 2017, I could include an appendix of 250 titles on the subject published in English in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and since then more titles are continually appearing, with several books achieving considerable attention in recent years. Drawing on critical content analysis, in this chapter, I examine in depth two middle grade (8- to 12-year-olds)/young adult (12- to 18-year-olds) texts, "The Bone Sparrow" and "Boy, Everywhere", both of which have been published in the last five years and received public acclaim. The massive flow of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar is the background to "The Bone Sparrow", while the ongoing conflict in Syria is the context for "Boy, Everywhere". Both texts address contemporary refugee displacements and are mainly or partly set in refugee and detainment camps, which is a new development in the genre. I argue that examining these two books using a RefugeeCrit framework, provides a more nuanced approach than usual for critically analyzing these books’ depiction of the refugee experience, the profile of the protagonist, the positionality of the author, and the role of the reader.

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Educational Studies


17 February 2023Published

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31 May 2023 15:02

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31 May 2023 15:08


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