Books to help children understand world events

By Katherine Woodfine | 01 February, 2017

Following the discussion in episode 31, here's our list of books which can help children and young people to understand more about politics and world events.

This list is a work-in-progress: please let us know any additional suggestions via Twitter @dtrhradio and we will add them to this page.


Refugees and immigration

Alpha by Barroux & Bessora, translated by Sarah Ardizzone

Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (listen to our interview with Zana in episode 30)

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (listen to our review of The Journey in episode 22)

Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird

Oranges in No Man's Land by Elizabeth Laird

Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic

After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross

Refuge by Anne Booth and Sam Usher (listen to Anne reading the story in episode 18)

Rubbish Town Hero by Nicola Davies

The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce

In the Sea there are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda

Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland

The Island by Armin Greder

The Silver Sword by Ian Serralier

Red Leaves by Sita Brahmachari

Looking at the Stars by Jo Cotterill

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

Boy Overboard by Morris Gleitzman

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan

Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin

Teacup by Rebecca Young and Matt Ottley


Human rights

We are All Born Free: The Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures

Here I Stand: Stories That Speak for Freedom

Dreams of Freedom in Words and Pictures

I Have the Right to be a Child

My Little Book of Big Freedoms illustrated by Chris Riddell


Social justice and activism

A is for Activist

What's a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne (and the other books in the Spinster Club series)

It's Your World by Chelsea Clinton

The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

March: Book 1 by Nate Powell, John Lewis & Andrew Aydin (also March: Book 2, March: Book 3)

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner



Wonder by R J Palacio

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher

Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari

The Kites are Flying by Michael Morpurgo and Laura Carlin

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Books by Selina Alko

Books by Sean Qualls



Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Once by Morris Gleitzman (also Then, Now, After)

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman by Raymond Briggs

The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff


Child soldiers/trafficking

Chalkline by Jane Mitchell

War Brothers by Sharon McKay and Daniel Lafrance

Sold by Patricia McCormick


Newly published/forthcoming

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (April 2017)

My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner (May 2017)

A Story Like the Wind by Gill Lewis (May 2017)

Troublemakers by Catherine Barter (June 2017)

More information

Talking Politics: a list of useful resources from blogger LH Johnson

Amnesty International on children's books and human rights

BookTrust: Books about refugees and asylum seekers

CLPE Refugee Experience booklist

Little Rebels Children's Book Award: prize for children's books promoting social justice

We Need Stories More than Ever - using books to discuss Trump and all that: a blog post from Barrington Stoke