Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Serving Children in Crisis

Proactive Response

In a recent NPR article, Vicky Smith of Kirkus Reviews pointed out that in the face of the global immigrant and refugee crisis, “It is a real desire on the part of authors, illustrators and publishers to respond to the crisis in a way that is proactive and helpful.”  In reality, the aim of youth services librarians is precisely the same.

Our occupation combats and seeks to ameliorate illiteracy, and act as a social equalizer.  What is more, we seek to provide a proactive response to social issues in the only way we know how.

If you find yourself confronted with the question of “why”, here’s your response, put best by Flying Eye Books (of Nobrow Press):

“In the wake of the cruelties happening to immigrant children all over the globe, but most recently in the US with children coming across the Mexican border, many of us are shocked. The children in our lives are also hearing about these stories, and finding a gentle way to explain this to them can be challenging.”

More succinctly (Alliance AIMH): “Separation is trauma

Follow Up

As a follow up to my last ALSC blog post, I wanted to share not only additional resources, but to show you how at least one of them has evolved in only one month’s time.

So let’s go!

Children’s Literature and the Human Face

As human tragedies cause mass migration worldwide, we have seen an uptick in children’s literature touching on these serious and frequently misunderstood realities.  NPR notes that the greatest increase has occurred in just the past three years, especially books that focus on the resilience of young Muslim refugees fleeing war-torn homelands.

NPR highlights books for audiences from toddler to teen, specifically:

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes, by CNN journalist Atia Abawi; ages 12 and up.

My Beautiful Birds, by Suzanne Del Rizzo; ages 6-10


Marwan’s Journey, by Patricia de Arias; ages 5-7

Refugee, by Alan Gratz


Journey, by Francesca Sanna; grades 1-4

[vimeo 210912683 w=640 h=360]

Francesca Sanna talks about The Journey from CILIP CKG Children’s Book Awards on Vimeo.

Editor: Look for Francesca’s new book coming out on Patriot Day, 2018, entitled Me and My Fear.

Resources for More Help

More help can be found at a site I mentioned last month, but has since exploded in terms of resources:


Alliance AIMH as resources here that include:

  • stories for children in English and Spanish
  • coloring books
  • audiorecordings of stories for children in English and Spanish
  • resources for schools and much more!

The Incarcerated Parent

Last month, I touched upon the topic of literacy resources for incarcerated children, teens and parents.  Recently, my colleague, Mary Dubbs posted a fantastic resource concerning the incarcerated parent.  Specifically, Ms. Mary lists the top 10 things you need to know when serving children whose parents have been or who are currently incarcerated.



This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials, and V. Outreach and Advocacy.



  1. Tess P

    Thanks for this timely and important post. If anyone is interested in building recommended reading lists, here are 2 that my library has developed in response to the Syrian refugee crisis in particular, but with global refugee experiences in mind as well. I hope you find them helpful. I continue to add new titles to these lists as they are published so please reply with suggestions. Thanks!

  2. Jonathan Dolce

    Thank you Ms. Tess for your kind response and for the link. I’ve forwarded the link on to a few of my colleagues. I try my best to write articles that are timely and helpful. For the most part, it’s the best I can do to help ameliorate these issues.

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