Together With Refugees: UNHCR and Children’s Books Ireland encourage public to pick up a book this World Refugee Day (20th June)

June 2022
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Children sitting in their school library, reading

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Children’s Books Ireland are pleased to announce the launch of their annual refugee book reading campaign to mark World Refugee Day on 20 June.  

Organised each year in partnership with libraries and bookshops across Ireland, this campaign encourages readers to see the world through the eyes of those who have made extraordinary journeys to reach safety. 

As Ireland continues to show solidarity in welcoming over 30,000 refugees from Ukraine, this campaign promotes further empathy and solidarity with new neighbours, school friends and teammates at a community level. Reading these diverse titles allows Irish young people to extend their understanding and stand with refugees – people who are forced to flee from conflict or persecution – from all over the world. Every person has the right to seek safety, whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee.  

A specially curated reading guide, Together With Refugees, contains over 85 titles featuring stories about those who have fled conflict and human rights abuses. Readers have a wide range of formats to choose from, including fact, fiction, autobiography and photography.  

The launch of the reading guide is accompanied by a national ‘Together With Refugees’ campaign. Taking place from 13–24 June, the campaign will see bookshop windows and libraries across the country come to life with vibrant posters and book covers, including a window in the landmark Hodges Figgis bookshop. 

Enda O’Neill, Head of Office with UNHCR Ireland, said: 

This World Refugee Day, as we reach the staggering milestone of 100 million people forced from their homes, it is easy to forget that behind each figure is a person with their own unique story to tell. We invite children to pick up a book to learn more about why people make the difficult decision to leave their home, and the perilous journey many have taken in search of safety.

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, said: 

We are so pleased to continue our important partnership with UNHCR for World Refugee Day. Every year, we work together to highlight excellent stories that help young readers to understand and build solidarity with those forced from their homes. This year these books feel more relevant than ever, as we welcome children from Ukraine into schools all over Ireland. We hope that the books will build empathy in our communities as well as sparking a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

The campaign runs in libraries and bookshops around Ireland from 13–24 June.