Book Review – Refugees

Title: Refugees

Written by: Brian Bilston

Illustrated by: José Sanabria

Published by: Palazzo

Edited by: Gemma Farr


For my 200th blog post I have blogged my review of Refugees by Brian Bilston and José Sanabria.

This is ‘cleverly crafted book picture book that highlights prejudices and bigotry. The poem can be read both forwards and backwards to show two opposing views about refugees. The provides a brilliant opportunity for discussion and a way to talk about fear and hate and the need for compassion, understanding and empathy. I particularly like the way the poem is laid out on the left of the spread when read forward and on the right side when it is re-written backwards in the second half of the book.

The colours used for the illustrations also help to convey the different moods and feelings, with dark sad-faced images to show the fear and mistrust and brighter, colourful images with happy smiling faces to demonstrate people from different races and cultures are all the same all around the world, doing the same jobs, same activities and everyday routines. An excellent book to promote debate.

The book would be ideal for PSHE classes not only at KS1 or KS2 but also KS3 and KS4 as the opposing views are relevant for all ages. It would also be interesting to have children craft their own similar poems to show opposing views on this and other subjects, such as climate change, conservation and even Brexit.

This book review was previously published on the online Armadillo Children’s Book Review Magazine.

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