Tag Archives: Displaced Persons

Salih – Inda Ahmad Zahri. Anne Ryan

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Ford St Publishing

March 2021

ISBN: 9781925804645

RRP: $16.99

The global issue of the plight of refugees, and in particular, child refugees is the focus of this sensitively written and beautifully illustrated book. Even your youngest readers will be able to comprehend the circumstance of those who must flee their homes, with only what they can carry – like turtles carrying their homes on their backs – and the ensuing discussions which will arise will help your little people develop empathy and an appreciation of diversity.

The first person narrative is almost poetic as it describes the flight from danger, the happy memories and the terrible ones and the therapeutic release through art is a beautiful way to tie a healing process to the visual metaphors used in Anne Ryan’s illustrations.

This is an emotional journey as well as a political and cultural one and is an important addition for any classroom unit of work or library collection. It is certainly a theme which has resonance in today’s global circumstance and one that deserves to fully examined in just such a sympathetic and compassionate way.

Recommended with my fullest endorsement for your readers from around five years upwards.

Goodbye Mr Hitler – Jackie French

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Harper Collins – AU

May 2017

      ISBN: 9781460751299

RRP: 16.99 AUD

In a modern world that often seems to be filled with hate and prejudices and refusal to acknowledge basic human rights, we could easily fall into a despondency that could be soul-destroying. Many of us in daily contact with children will have observed that they too feel fearful about outcomes of some of the huge issues the world is facing. How can we as educators help them to overcome their fears and even perhaps hatred born of influence from media and other sources?

I believe that it is with great literature such as this that we can examine the horrors of the past and show the path to a place of peace, love and forgiveness.  We have a real duty to impart to these children that we cannot stand by and let evil happen and that if we all do that, it cannot survive.

Jackie French has continued her “Hitler” series with the story of Johannes and his doctor parents sent to concentration camps when the Nazis took over Poland, as well as following the threads from the previous two books with the fate of Heidi, believed to be Hitler’s daughter, as well as Georg, now firmly an Australian and his mother who has also survived the horror camps.

Their stories are vivid and told with Jackie’s usual painstaking historical accuracy and each resonates with the pain and suffering endured by so many. It is heart-wrenching and poignant and not for the first time we are inspired by the indomitable human spirit of truly good people. How could someone who has survived such vileness heal their hearts we might ask? And yet so many have done just that. Having witnessed truly despicable and terrible events and actions, these are the people who know that the one true way to freedom, not just of body but of mind and spirit, is through letting go of hate.

As these memorable characters find renewed hope and begin to build new lives in Australia, their various secrets, fears and sorrows begin to soften and ebb into a past.

The contemporary situation with asylum seekers and the denial of their rights should be compared to the spirit of generosity with which nations, especially Australia, welcomed displaced persons following the war.

This series is one of the most important and significant within my experience. Students particularly of Modern History and indeed Philosophy should be firmly pointed in their direction.

Find superb teaching notes here.

Highest recommendation for readers in Upper Primary onwards.