There are two more workshops left in our series focusing on the five senses in honor of National Deaf Awareness Month. This Saturday’s will focus on the sense of smell and some of the hands-on activities include Name That Scent and Scratch n’ Sniff Watercolor Painting. These workshops are free to all ages and all supplies are provided. You can contact the library by calling 575-622-7101, visit us at 301 N. Pennsylvania Ave., or the website at http://roswell-nm.gov/405/Roswell-Public-Library.
Book Talk by Claire Gutierrez, Children’s Librarian
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” What can we learn from those famous words in today’s political climate in regards to refugees? Spanning over the course of the last 100 years, these children’s books highlight the struggles of refugees seeking asylum in both the U.S. and other countries. Beautifully written, incredibly heart-wrenching, and wonderfully eye-opening, these titles will hopefully open some minds and hearts to those seeking refuge in a peaceful place.
Alan Gratz’s “Refugee” follows the lives of three young refugees fleeing for their lives in different lifetimes. One seeks refuge in Cuba fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939, another seeks refuge in the United States fleeing Cuba during the Cuban raft exodus in 1994, and yet another is seeking refuge in Austria after fleeing from Syria during a terrible civil war in 2015 that still wreaks havoc on its civilians today. Each story is different, but all are connected in a beautifully written way. Gratz understands the plights of the millions of people these wars and crises have directly affected over the last century. This title is highly recommended for all readers. It is easy to follow, a quick read, and powerful. It includes an author’s note about the wars detailed in each story, the people some of the characters are based on, and how you can help struggling refugees find a peaceful place to finally live.
In “Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees,” Mary Beth Leatherdale hits hard with her opening introduction stating that if you are reading this book, then you “have probably won the lottery … you were born in or immigrated to a relatively peaceful and prosperous place in the world.” She then goes on to describe the millions of displaced peoples throughout the course of the last century who have sought refuge and kindness from their fellow human beings, including the 11 million Syrian refugees currently seeking refuge in North America and Europe. By putting names and faces to refugees throughout the last 100 years of wars (including WWII, Vietnam War, Cuban Revolution, Afghanistan, and the civil war in Libya), this book seeks to humanize those who had or continue to have their voices go unheard. When we see these people as sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and fellow human beings, it really brings to light the decency we owe to these people who are desperately seeking the right to live. Although this is a children’s book, it is a beautiful and heart-wrenching eye-opener to readers of all ages, and hopefully will open the hearts of those who have closed theirs off.
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Other recommended titles include the graphic novel “Seeking Refuge” by Irene N. Watts which can be found in the Children’s paperbacks as well as two picture books: “The Map of Good Memories” by Fran Nuño which can be found in the Children’s Easy to Read section and “Adrift At Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival” by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho in Children’s Non-fiction.