What is a refugee? We get a simple, but informative, answer to that question in Elise Gravel’s picture book, What Is a Refugee?
You find out why people leave their homes, the feelings they have and what could happen to them while trying to find a new home. While not too in-depth, there is much covered. Therefore, this might not be for the very young reader/listener. Yet, due to its format, it is aimed at younger children. Therefore, know your reader and their ability to sit and listen to a not traditionally action filled story. Also, this could be used in a classroom setting for as high up as high school students (that is if you know how to adapt the young look for older students). And if a reader is starting to do some solo reading, or with help, this could be used.
Gravel’s signature style is found with the illustrations. Filled with color and slightly realistic-abstract characters, the story unfolds with the text to accompany it.
Perhaps the best part of this book is the interview paragraphs Gravel includes from conversations they had with refugee children. The other section to this is the famous people who were refugees. This part made me think of the definition of refugee. One does not necessarily think someone like Anne Frank or Albert Einstein were refugees. But by the definition of the word, they too were refugees. Some of the people mentioned might not be familiar to the reader (I was unfamiliar with the basketball player), but this could spark a conversation about the word, who is and is not a refugee and more.