A collection of books in their home languages was presented by IBBY New Zealand/ Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand to the AUT Refugee Education Centre in late November. The books, in a wide range of languages - including Farsi, Arabic, Tamil, Punjabi, Burmese, Karen, Chin, and Spanish - with images of familiar contexts, will support the refugee children’s emotional needs and adjustment to a new home after many years of trauma and homelessness.
For further information about this project, please contact Dr Libby Limbrick, Chair of Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project to supply the books was developed after Storylines hosted the 2016 IBBY International Congress, and was made possible through a US$5,000 (NZ$6,633) grant to IBBY NZ (a sub group of Storylines) from the Yamada Foundation administered by the International Board on Books (IBBY).
The project has also been supported by generous donations from Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine, and France, all National Sections of IBBY, and discounted prices from book distributors in Myanmar and Singapore.
"It was heart warming to see how engaged the children were as the book gift was explained,' commented Storylines chair, Dr Libby Limbrick, "and how they loved having readers share the books with them in their own languages in small groups after the presentation.
"Despite there being more than 100 books in this initial gift, we have not been able to supply books in all the languages used by refugee children and their families. We will continue to work to source books in other languages and to ensure there are books at all levels for refugee students. There is very good evidence that being able to retain their own language and share books and memories of their homeland greatly help their resettlement."