Reading and Viewing List

Here are some suggested books and videos that provide a background to the experiences that some refugees have come through. We would love to extend this list. So please let us know if you have any suggestions.

For Sama (2018)

 BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated film by Waad Al-Kateab documenting first-hand the story of Waad’s family from the time of the Spring Uprising in Aleppo until its evacuation in 2016. Waad and her husband were responsible for only the broadcasts out from a hospital in Aleppo during the worst of the bombing. First broadcast on Channel 4 in October 2019. Available as DVD or as play-back on All 4.

The Lightless Sky by Gulwali Passerlay (Atlantic Books 2015)

The autobiography of an Afgani boy, forced to leave his family in Afghanistan for his own safety, after the US bombing campaign of 2006. He was just 13 years old. His harrowing and lonely journey to the UK took more than a year as he travelled through no less than 9 countries – some more than once. However the worst of his journey was not over once he reached UK shores. This book shows how people-smuggling operations work (or don’t work!) for those travelling from the Middle East and across Europe.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (Manilla Press 2019)

A haunting novel about Nuri and his blinded wife, in their struggle to survive so many losses and make a new life for themselves in the UK. This book introduces both the physical traumas that caused them to leave as well as those of their journey, along with the impact on their relationship, thought processes and mental well-being.

Refuge by Matthew K Firpo (2017)

A twenty minute documentary film, interviewing Syrians from four refugee camps in Greece.

A Thousand Suns by Khaled Hossein (2008) and The Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez (2007) illustrate both the plight and resilience of women under Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi (2018) is a novel about a teenaged boy who has responsibility for his young sister as they flee first the bombs of Aleppo and then the cruelty of Daesh in Raqqa, to make a new home in Germany.

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hassein (2018) is a beautifully illustrated book of poetry contemplating the dangerous journeys to be made by refugees, across the Mediterranean Sea.

The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby (2016) An account of the rescue of migrants from the Mediterranean Sea by a small group of Italians in their fifteen-foot yacht, and the resulting bonds of friendship.