`Superb! A moving story that is sure to bring a tear to your eye. The illustrations speak volumes.' MCBDirect
With all the negative stereotypes surrounding the issue of asylum, what are children to make of this social phenomenon? And with such inhumanity in much of the populist discussions on this issue there is from many quarters understandable concern that they may draw extreme conclusions.
This sensitively written and beautifully illustrated children's book explores the subject of asylum through the story of Hassan, a young Somali boy, who was forced to flee his home and is now struggling to make sense of the relatively grey reality that now masquerades as home.
Hassan has his idyllic, colourful life turned upside down when his village is raided by armed men and he and his family are forced to flee in search of refuge. There is no time to collect personal belongings and the only things that his father manages to salvage from the family possessions are a copy of the Qur'an and a prayer mat.
Eventually they arrive in Britain and are confronted by what seems to Hassan as a cold, colourless and unwelcoming reality. Recognising the trauma Hassan is still experiencing, his warm and caring teacher begins the process of working through some of the memories and emotions he is struggling to make sense of and come to terms with.
Winner of the 2003 National Literacy 'Wow!' Award, this book sensitively explores a subject that now directly touches the lives of many children living in inner cities and indirectly impacts on all children, whether in the classroom or through the mass media. Importantly it approaches the subject humanely and with a compassion that seems unfortunately to be all too often lacking in much of the contemporary discourse on what must be one of the most harrowing of human experiences to have to flee one's homeland and be transplanted to an alien culture.
Through the loving attention and care of his teacher and friends, Hassan gradually begins to understand and accept his new existence. Though still many miles from home, we see hints of colour begin to return to his life.
The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman (author) and Karin Littlewood (illustrator) £5.99 Frances Lincoln, 2003 ISBN 0 7112 1991 5 Suitable for Key Stages 1 and 2
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