I want to think that all of us, no matter our opinion on the recent Executive Order in the U.S., have hearts of compassion for refugees.
One thing I am concerned about is the politicization of compassion. That in order to support the president, some might choose to suppress thinking about the war-weary, talking about the current humanitarian disaster, remembering brave people who sheltered Jews at the risk of their own lives, and cultivating compassion for the downtrodden, persecuted, threatened ones in our world. In an attempt to feel positive about the order, it is tempting to downplay the wretchedness of the situation. That is a tragedy.
Let’s choose to walk in others’ shoes and increase our understanding and compassion, no matter our political persuasion. Shuttering our hearts is not a value of any decent political or religious group.
To that end I’ve compiled a list of books that I’ve previously reviewed. Each is linked to the original review.
I encourage us — all of us — to read books that help us feel more compassion. It’s not political.
1. I did a post about Muslims and refugees a little over a year ago with links to many of the best titles on my blog. You can access that here:
sowing seeds of peace and refuge
2. This past year I shared many stories about sheltering Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. Here are those links:
Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto
Irena’s Jars of Secrets
Always Remember Me
Passage to Freedom
His Name was Raoul Wallenberg
The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of how Muslims Rescued Jews during the Holocaust
The Greatest Skating Race
The Lion and the Unicorn
3. Here are more titles about the immigrant and refugee experience not included in that first grouping:
We Came to America
Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land
Goodbye, 382 Shin Dang Dong
The Matchbox Diary
My Father’s Boat
My Name is Sangoel
The Thanksgiving Door
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
The Turtle of Oman
It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel
A Long Pitch Home
Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War
Dreams of Freedom
4. Finally, I love this nativity story reminding us that Jesus, Joseph, and Mary were refugees:
Thank you so much for this post, both for your words, and for the list of relevant books you have given us. I blogged a bit this week about being an immigrant, and having three children, a daughter-in-law (the girl the character in my book was based on) and a son-in-law who are also immigrants. I hoped that by staying away from a direct political conversation and making it a personal reflection on what is’s like to immigrate it might speak to at least a few hearts. Here’s a link in case you are interested.
Thanks so much, Kristie. I love your heart and feel the emotions and restraint in your post. I have also wanted so much to keep my blog welcoming to all and not veer into politics or areas that would alienate groups of readers. There is so much common ground for us in books. It is hard when many matters become political that used to be simply human — welcome for immigrants, care for the Earth, just treatment of all races. These ought not be political but have become polarizing, entrenched, subjects. Sigh. I was glad for another opportunity to highlight your book at least!
Thank you so much for this list. Books that bridge the divides and help us be more compassionate are so very important. At a time when it’s hard to know what to do about all the things going on in the world, this is something I know I can do and start to share with my son, even if he is still less than 2 years old.
Absolutely. Providing windows into the larger world and other people’s lives and kindnesses is a wonderful way to begin informing little ones. Your own heart will be his best guide.