Together With Refugees: UNHCR and Children's Books Ireland encourage public to pick up a book this World Refugee Day

Refugee Reading Guide shares over 85 titles promoting solidarity with refugees in Ireland and worldwide

2 June 2022: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Children’s Books Ireland are pleased to announce the launch of their annual refugee book reading campaign to mark World Refugee Day on 20 June.

Organised each year in partnership with libraries and bookshops across Ireland, this campaign encourages readers to see the world through the eyes of those who have made extraordinary journeys to reach safety.

As Ireland continues to show solidarity in welcoming over 30,000 refugees from Ukraine, this campaign promotes further empathy and solidarity with new neighbours, school friends and teammates at a community level. Reading these diverse titles allows Irish young people to extend their understanding and stand with refugees – people who are forced to flee from conflict or persecution – from all over the world. Every person has the right to seek safety, whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee. 

A specially curated reading guide, Together With Refugees, contains over 85 titles featuring stories about those who have fled conflict and human rights abuses. Readers have a wide range of formats to choose from, including fact, fiction, autobiography and photography.

The launch of the reading guide is accompanied by a national ‘Together With Refugees’ campaign. Taking place from 13–24 June, the campaign will see bookshop windows and libraries across the country come to life with vibrant posters and book covers, including a window in the landmark Hodges Figgis bookshop.

Enda O’Neill, Head of Office with UNHCR Ireland, said:

‘This World Refugee Day, as we reach the staggering milestone of 100 million people forced from their homes, it is easy to forget that behind each figure is a person with their own unique story to tell. We invite children to pick up a book to learn more about why people make the difficult decision to leave their home, and the perilous journey many have taken in search of safety.’

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, said:

‘We are so pleased to continue our important partnership with UNHCR for World Refugee Day. Every year, we work together to highlight excellent stories that help young readers to understand and build solidarity with those forced from their homes. This year these books feel more relevant than ever, as we welcome children from Ukraine into schools all over Ireland. We hope that the books will build empathy in our communities as well as sparking a love of reading that will last a lifetime.’

The campaign runs in libraries and bookshops around Ireland from 13–24 June.

For more information and to download Together With Refugees reading guide, click here.

ENDS

Notes for editors

About Together With Refugees Reading Guide

  • Contains 88 books in English and Irish for young readers aged 0–18.
  • Created by Children’s Books Ireland in collaboration with UNHCR.
  • Formats include picturebooks, graphic novels, photography, fiction and non-fiction.
  • Titles range from classics (When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, I am David) to new and bestselling titles (Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Andrewn Donkin and Giovanni Rigano; Run for your Life by Jane Mitchell).

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognise their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR has had a continuous presence in Ireland since 1998. UNHCR works with the Irish government, officials, NGOs and other partners to protect people forced to flee their homes and support them to live their lives with dignity and respect. www.unhcr.org/en-ie/

Children’s Books Ireland is the national organisation for children’s books in Ireland. Through our many activities and events we aim to engage young people with books, foster a greater understanding of the importance of books for young people and act as a core resource for those with an interest in books for children in Ireland. Our vision is an Ireland in which books are central to every child’s life and where meaningful engagement with books is supported by passionate and informed adults in families, schools, libraries and communities all across the island. Children’s Books Ireland is an arts organisation with charitable status. www.childrensbooksireland.ie