Supporting Refugees and Immigrants through Imaginative Narratives

By Susan Corapi

The process of adapting to a new country can take (at best) months or (more probably) years. Picture books about the refugee experience can give the false impression that the process of learning a new language and adapting to a new culture is quick because the narrative is compressed into 32 pages. In reality, the process should be represented as a multivolume work!

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Supporting Refugees and Immigrants through Narratives with Strong Characters

By Susan Corapi

Christina Igoa, in her book The Inner World of the Immigrant Child (1995), documents her years of teaching in a California classroom designed to support children in their acquisition of English. In order to help that process, she acquired an extensive classroom library and immersed her students in English language texts. She particularly focused on collecting stories that had strong characters who overcame obstacles.

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Supporting Refugees and Immigrants through Bilingual Books

By Susan Corapi

Learning a new language can be fun depending on how it is taught and the circumstances that are prompting a person to take on the task. Immersion style language learning, when an immigrant is thrust into a new cultural context, is a different matter. It is stressful. It is incredibly tiring. It can also discombobulate a person’s sense of identity, which for many of us is partially anchored in language and the ability to communicate. When that ability to express feelings, ask for what we want, or simply pass the time of day is stripped away, we begin to wonder who we are.

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Supporting Refugees and Immigrants through Silent Books

By Susan Corapi

On the heels of Lauren Freedman’s posts about the importance of stories about the refugee experience, this month’s blog posts will focus on practical uses of books to support refugees in ways that can help them feel welcome, negotiate the language learning and adaptation process, and gain a sense of a new home.

silent books

A selection of artwork from Bluebird by Bob Staake, listed below.

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