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March 03, 2022

What we’re reading for World Book Day

It’s World Book Day. Reading is a way of learning about others — whether through fiction or non-fiction. Here, members of the LRMN team share some of their favourite and most powerful reads.

Marjane Satrapi

“This is an all time favourite. An autobiographic graphic novel by a young Persian woman who grew up in Iran during the Islamist Revolution. This novel is sardonic, unexpected, and sincere and it has won numerous literary awards, it’s also credited with helping to introduce graphic art as a serious literary medium. Incredible!”

– A number of members of staff recommended this one, including Elizabeth, one our Immigration Advisors

Chinese Whispers: the True Story Behind Britain’s Hidden Army of Labour
Hsiao-Hung Pai

“This non-fiction book reveals a first hand account of what it is like to live undocumented in the UK and the choices people have to make when they are in this situation.”

– Mark, Immigration Manager

Radical Help
Hilary Cottam

“I love this book because it offers interesting ways of holistic community work and shows how valuable really listening to people is. Inspiring.”

– Kelly, LRMN Volunteer

When the Moon is Low
Nadia Hashimi

“I have read many books about the lives of refugees but this book really stayed with me. So much of the story took place in the ‘inbetween spaces’ of my own hometown, Athens – in doorsteps, alleyways, train platforms. Places I have waited for answers too. And that’s what being a refugee is often like, just waiting.”

– Hera, Campaigns, Communications and Fundraising Manager

The Art of Losing
Alice Zeniter

“A three generation story availing the consequences of colonisation, the pain of immigration, the loss of a country and identity. A granddaughter investigating her family untold story starting with her grandfather at the birst of Alegria independence and the choice he had to make. What a powerful story!”

– Clémentine, Receptionist and Admin Assistant

The End of Where We Begin
Rosalind Russell

This book tells the true stories of three refugees fleeing the civil war in South Sudan. It recounts how their lives are brutally ripped apart by war and how they struggle to heal. Part of the book covers the impact of Covid-19 on the lives of those in Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda which was a harsh reminder that the pandemic cut off vital support to refugees across the globe.

– Alan, Head of Operations

Refugees and Gender
Heaven Crawley

“This book, and its author, changed my views on life and have led me to where I am today. Once I arrived in the UK in 2003, I met a few women who had fled their countries because of gender violence and were seeking asylum. All were turned down, and as a feminist and union worker for women’s rights back home, I was furious at the UK asylum process. This is how I met Heaven Crawley, who set me on the path to earning a BA in sociology and an MSc in International Development ( option International Migration ) and finally a PhD on Gender and Forced Migration. My companion on this journey has been her book.”

– Latefa, Integration Officer, Refugee Resettlement Scheme

Reading gives us insight into the realities of being from a refugee, migrant or asylum seeker background. It can build empathy and understanding, as well as remind us of the importance of listening. Have any of these books inspired you?