Lifelines Podcast Show Notes: Episode 7


Recommendations from Saadia

In Episode 7, Saadia Faruqi shares some of her favorite picture books featuring refugees and immigrants. Here are some of the titles she features:

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

Marwan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias

Calling the Water Drum by Latisha Redding

Stepping Stones: a Refugee’s Family Journey by Margriet Ruurs

Teacup by Rebecca Young

The Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Amy Shrodes and Doug Kuntz

Refugees and Migrants by Ceri Roberts


A Conversation with Library Director Laura Arnhold

Next, Ann shares her conversation with Library Director Laura Arnhold. As part of their conversation, Laura included some great book recommendations, including:

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Escape from Aleppo by N. H. Senzai

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Rules by Cynthia Lord 


“Moving Beyond”

This is Ann again for our final segment “Moving Beyond.”  I want to tell you about a project  that was originally piloted in the state of Maine and  is now available nation-wide that’s actively using picture books to build bridges.

The Welcoming Library is a pop-up community conversation about immigration. That conversation is driven by a collection of acclaimed immigration-themed picture books and their embedded discussion questions.

Here’s some examples of the discussion questions affixed to the books’ endpapers:

From the First Generation Vietnamese American Picture Book A DIFFERENT POND: The kids at school say that the father’s English sounds like a “thick, dirty river.”  The boy thinks his father’s English sounds like “gentle rain.”  Why do the boy and his fellow students see the father differently?

FROM TIA ISA WANTS A CAR: The girl says, “soon is when our family will join us, so I know soon is a very long time.”  What do you think she means?  Have you wanted something to happen “soon,” but it felt like a long time?

From MY TWO BLANKETS: The first time the girl in the park smiles and waves at Cartwheel [Cartwheel is a “new arrival” Somali girl], Cartwheel does not smile or wave back.  Imagine that you waved at someone new and they didn’t wave back. What are some reasons they might not wave back? Would you try again

The picture book collection, its pop-up display unit (with celebratory flags and banners), along with programming and educational tools, packed into a crate and travels between schools, libraries, and community centers in a given region.

The Welcoming Library invites readers of all ages to explore literature as a means to celebrate our commonalities and differences and to create an environment of welcoming. Is it working?  Here are the reader survey results so far:

67% inspired by the book or project to be actively welcoming in their communities.

100% saw similarities between the book’s family and their own.

100% learned something new about a featured culture or community.

100% want to read more books like these.

You can find more information at

The Welcoming Library is a offshoot on a website founded in 2012 by Kirsten Cappy of Curious City and kidlit authors Anne Sibley O’Brien and Terry Farish. lists immigration and first-third generation children’s literature and allows users to browse books by community represented – something not available elsewhere.  Need a list of children’s books representing Somali Americans?  Children’s book set in Afghanistan? I’m Your Neighbor Books categorizes and features them.

You will find this quote from poet Amit Majmudar, several places on their website:

“The true meeting takes place when the book opens, and a stranger reads about — and comprehends — a stranger.” 

THAT is a Lifeline.