Children’s refugee anthology to be donated to schools

Unbound has donated 345 copies of the refugee anthology, A Country to Call Home, to schools and youth organisations across the UK, including Essex, Kent, Norfolk and Yorkshire.

Lucy Popescu, editor of the collection, who crowdfunded with Unbound, wants A Country to Call Home to be read widely in schools, “in the hope that the next generation will have a kinder response to refugees and asylum seekers, and better understand some of the reasons people are forced to flee their native countries.”

The donation of books was possible thanks to the generosity of Chris Riddell, who illustrated the anthology. He gifted the original prints to Popescu who, together with Unbound, sold each of the 23 illustrations, using the funds to distribute the anthology to schools.  

John Mitchinson, Co-Founder of Unbound, said: "Empathy, the imaginative engagement with others, is our best hope of a building a better future. This remarkable book is an empathy machine and we are delighted to help support and enable this initiative to get in front of as many new readers as possible.”

Another benefactor is donating a further 135 copies to libraries across the country, and pensioner Michela Fyson has bought 80 copies to donate to schools in Stoke.

A Country to Call Home explores the experiences of young refugees and asylum seekers and includes newly commissioned stories, flash fiction, poetry and essays from children’s writers including Brian Conaghan, Kit De Waal, Judith Kerr, Patrice Lawrence, Anna Perera, Bali Rai and SF Said.

There are tales of home, and of missing it; poems about the dangerous journeys undertaken and life in the refugee camps; stories about prejudice, but also stories of children’s fortitude, their dreams and aspirations.

Lucy Popescu said: “We mustn’t forget that over half of the world’s refugees are children. The fate and vulnerability of refugee children and young adults continue to be vital issues and the book is intended as a positive reminder of our shared humanity.”