Fleeing home

"You have to understand," writes Somali-British poet Warsan Shire in her poem Home, "that no one puts their children in a boat/ unless the water is safer than the land".

Here are four other books that deal with the refugee experience through history.


MEMOIRS

FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER (2000)

By Loung Ung

Perennial/ Paperback/$27.27/ Books Kinokuniya

Ung, a survivor of Cambodia's brutal Pol Pot regime, recounts the deaths of her family at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, and her flight to Thailand and, later, the United States.


FICTION

THE BLUE BETWEEN SKY AND WATER (2015)

By Susan Abulhawa

Bloomsbury Circus/ Paperback/$27.91/ Books Kinokuniya

In this novel that opens in southern Palestine in 1947, members of the Baraka family are forced to leave their village for a refugee camp in Gaza. Abulhawa draws on her own upbringing as the child of refugees of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War for this inter-generational epic of exile.


CHILDREN'S

WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT (1971)

By Judith Kerr

Puffin/Paperback/ $11.24/ Books Kinokuniya

In this children's novel based partly on her own childhood, Kerr depicts the rise of Nazism in Germany through the eyes of a nine-year-old Jewish girl, whose family must flee Berlin and move from city to city in Europe to elude Nazi capture.


MEMOIRS

A LONG WAY GONE (2007)

By Ishmael Beah

Sarah Crichton Books/Paperback/ $23.27/Books Kinokuniya

Beah writes about the horrific years he spent as a child soldier during the 1990s civil war in Sierra Leone, when he was brainwashed into killing and using drugs, and his eventual rehabilitation and escape from Freetown to the US.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2017, with the headline 'Fleeing home'. Print Edition | Subscribe