We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai. January 8, 2019. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 224 p. ISBN: 9780316523646. Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 5.8.
In her powerful new book, Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Malala Yousafzai introduces some of the people behind the statistics and news stories about the millions of people displaced worldwide.
Malala’s experiences visiting refugee camps caused her to reconsider her own displacement – first as an Internally Displaced Person when she was a young child in Pakistan, and then as an international activist who could travel anywhere in the world except to the home she loved. In We Are Displaced, which is part memoir, part communal storytelling, Malala not only explores her own story, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her journeys – girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they’ve ever known.
In a time of immigration crises, war, and border conflicts, We Are Displaced is an important reminder from one of the world’s most prominent young activists that every single one of the 68.5 million currently displaced is a person – often a young person – with hopes and dreams.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Harsh realities of war, Racism, Violence
Booklist (February 15, 2019 (Vol. 115, No. 12))
Grades 9-12. Yousafzai recounts her own refugee journey as well as those of girls and women from political hot spots and war-torn countries, all refugees seeking a safe place to call home. Separated from family members and threatened by attack, they forge on in their struggle to survive. Yousafzai starts with her own journey. Acknowledging that, while displaced, she is not a refugee, she goes on to tell the stories of eight girls and two women, one a volunteer with World Church Services in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the other a woman returning to Uganda, having fled to Canada with her family when she was two years old. Yousafzai starts with a preface to each story, describing how she met each person, and then tells their story in first person, lending immediacy to each narrative and capturing each voice. Her writing is lucid and accessible and will attract a range of readers. The stories are heart-wrenching, compelling, and inspirational and, one hopes, will motivate readers to become involved locally. Epilogue and back matter unavailable for preview.
Kirkus Reviews starred (December 1, 2018)
In this uplifting work Yousafzai shares the survival stories of female refugees from around the world. Before she was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Yousafzai was displaced. When she was just 11-years-old, the Taliban forced Yousafzai and her family to leave their idyllic home in the Swat Valley and join the ranks of Pakistan’s Internally Displaced Persons. Yousafzai recounts the agony of leaving behind her books, friends, and pet chickens and the disappointment of interrupted schooling. She also vividly describes the horror of seeing schools reduced to rubble as a result of bombings, an experience that both politicized her and forced her family into exile in England. The author devotes only about a quarter of the book to her own story, the remainder is a collection of oral histories from displaced women and girls from countries ranging from Yemen to Colombia to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each refugee’s tale of survival is equal parts devastating and inspiring, and the narrators do not shy away from the complex, contradictory experiences of fleeing a homeland. The narratives are filled with emotionally specific descriptive details that render each voice powerful and unique. In the prologue, Yousafzai specifically states that her purpose is to transform refugees from nameless, faceless statistics into who they really are: humans whose identities are more than just their displaced status. A poignant, fascinating, and relevant read. (author’s note, background information, biographies) (Nonfiction. 13-adult)
About the Author
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially education of women in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has since grown into an international movement.
Her website is www.malala.org/
We Are Displaced on Common Sense Media
Around the Web
We Are Displaced on Amazon
We Are Displaced on Barnes & Noble
We Are Displaced on Goodreads
We Are Displaced on LibraryThing
We Are Displaced Publisher Page