Books from the past….but so relevant today…use them to help explain today’s news stories

This blog is inspired by a tweet by Jim @Yayeahyeah who was writing about A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master. The book was set in 1947 at the time of Partition in India. It was a time when communities who had lived in peace, respecting the different beliefs of their members, were torn apart by religious intolerance and violence. The book was published in 2011, yet is so relevant to our world today: the events, feelings and thoughts in the book mirror events that we read about daily in the the news.


This tweet started me thinking about boks that have been published over a year or so ago, some perhaps set in a time long gone, but which remain relevant today. These books might help us to have a better understanding of our world today:

I am David by Ann Holm (1965) – the story of a boy who grew up in a concentration camp and then escaped. Perhaps concentration camps do not seem so relevant today, but think of all the children growing up in refugee camps around the world. How does this type of incarceration affect them? How does growing up around intolerance and hate, in hostile conditions, effect a child?


Once by Maurice Gleitzman (2006) – set in WW2 the book is about a young Jewish boy whose life is turned upside down due to persecution. With the continuing persecution of different faiths around the world, notably the Coptic Christians and the Yazidis, this book is an excellent starting point to help YA readers understand the difficulties encountered by children whose families and worlds are torn apart in this manner.


 Lost Riders by Elizabeth Laird (2013) – the book follows the story of a young boy from Pakistan who is trafficked to Dubai to be a camel jockey. Young boys are no longer used as camel jockeys but children are still trafficked and this book exposes the pain and damage trafficking inflicts on children and their families.


Hidden by Miriam Halahmy (2011) – central to this story is the experience of an asylum seeker and the book takes care to explain the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee. This book can help children to understand these concepts in a world where asylum seekers and refugees are in the news and in our communities.


Being Billy by Phil Earle (2011) – Don’t forget this book about the struggles of a young boy in care. Being able to understand why children end up in care and the effect this can have on a child and on a family is always relevant. Books like this will enable us to be more understanding and, perhaps, this will lead to society being more tolerant.


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