Guest Post – Refugee Children Are My Children by Sita Brahmachari
Today I have a fab guest post from the lovely Sita Brahmachari to celebrate the release of her new YA book, Tender Earth.
Tender Earth was released on the 1st June 2017 published by Macmillan Children’s and is endorsed by Amnesty International UK.
‘A coming of age story for young protesters everywhere.’
Tender Earth is endorsed by Amnesty International UK because it illuminates the importance of equality, friendship and solidarity, and upholds our right to protest against injustice.’
Today Sita talks about child refugees in this fab guest post….
Laila Levenson has always been the baby of the family, but now with her older siblings, Mira and Krish, leaving home just as she starts secondary school, everything feels like it’s changing… can the reappearance of Nana Josie’s Protest Book and the spirit it releases in Laila, her friends and her local community, help her find her own voice and discover what she truly believes in?
A powerful chime rings through Laila’s mind, guiding her to walk the footsteps of the past on her way to discover her own future.
Refugee Children Are My Children
Who has not been in the situation of listening to the news or reading the paper, looking at a photo of a child refugee and feeling helpless at being witness to the plight of child refugees travelling unaccompanied throughout the world?
While writing Tender Earth I thought a lot about how people get on with their own lives while knowing that there are children right at this moment whose human rights are being violated because they have been displaced by conflict and war… and so many of these children are alone.
In this scene in Tender Earth my heroine, Laila Levenson, is sitting with her adopted grandmother listening to the news. Laila’s ‘Bubbe’ herself arrived as a refugee in this country from Germany just before World War Two as part of the Kindertransport.
In Tender Earth my young and older characters ask the question, how will history judge us for our treatment of child refugees today?
I work as writer in Residence at The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. When you know people personally, listen to their stories and witness their bravery, they are no longer statistics and the reality of the situation comes home to you. In Tender Earth, Laila’s friendship with a girl in her tutor group, Pari Pashaei, the child of Iraqi refugees, makes Laila hear and experience the news in a different way. It makes her want to stand up and use her voice to make a difference.
‘Listen to the language they use! Quotas, swarms… as if people are insects – or vermin!’ Bubbe holds onto the delicate gold necklace that she always wears as she listens. The presenter is now interviewing a boy called Amit, his voice sounds so sweet and young:
‘I am ten years old. I make this journey on my own. My feet always hurting from walking so far. Nothing in my home is left. All is destroyed with shelling. I don’t know, where is my mother, where is my father, my sisters… We have no clean water, not enough food, and here are some not good people, you know? Please, give us some safety. Make your hearts open. How can you close your borders to us? We are only children. If you turn your backs from us, we will die. Once already I have died to lose my family. Now we die a second time.’
Do you ever ask the questions that Laila Levenson and her friends ask in Tender Earth? If you do, take a look at these links that I explored in my research… convert thought into action and, as soon as you are legally able, VOTE for what you believe in.
You can buy a copy of Tender Earth here or from your local bookshop
About Sita Brahmachari
I write in community and education settings, theatre, YA novels and short stories. I have an MA in Arts Education. Novels published by Macmillan Children’s Books are: ‘Artichoke Hearts’ – Waterstones Children’s Book Prize (2011) and nominated for the Carnegie Prize. Subsequent novels: ‘Jasmine Skies’ (2013) and ‘Red Leaves’ (2015) were nominated for the Carnegie Prize. ‘Red Leaves’ is endorsed by Amnesty International UK. ‘Kite Spirit’ (2013) was nominated for UKLA Book Award and is a Reading Agency ‘Book on Prescription.’For Barrington Stoke Publishers: ‘Brace Mouth, False Teeth’ and ‘Car Wash Wish.’ I was Online Writer in Residence for Book Trust (2015) and am Writer In Residence at Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. ‘Tender Earth’ for Macmillan Children’s books, endorsed by Amnesty International UK is published in June 2017.
You can find out more about Sita on her website – www.sitabrahmachari.blogspot.co.uk
Or why not follow Sita on Twitter – @sitabrahmachari
A huge thank you to Sita for such a fab guest post and to Nina Douglas for asking me to host!
Have you read the Tender Earth? What did you think? Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!