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The University of Akron Wayne College Library
Month 12: Refugees
Read a book focusing on the refugee experience.
Across Many Mountains by
A powerful, emotional memoir and an extraordinary portrait of three generations of Tibetan women whose lives are forever changed when Chairman Mao's Red Army crushes Tibetan independence, sending a young mother and her six-year-old daughter on a treacherous journey across the snowy Himalayas toward freedom Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of the country's youngest Buddhist nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang's life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature and a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children, and lived in peace and prayer. But not for long. There was a saying in Tibet: "When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people willbe scattered like ants across the face of the earth." The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 changed everything. When soldiers arrived at her mountain monastery, destroying everything in their path, Kunsang and her family fled across the Himalayas only to spend years in Indian refugee camps. She lost both her husband and her youngest child on that journey, but the future held an extraordinary turn of events that would forever change her life--the arrival in the refugee camps of a cultured youngSwiss man long fascinated with Tibet. Martin Brauen will fall instantly in love with Kunsang's young daughter, Sonam, eventually winning her heart and hand, and taking mother and daughter with him to Switzerland, where Yangzom will be born. Many stories lie hidden until the right person arrives to tell them. In rescuing the story of her now 90-year-old inspirational grandmother and her mother, Yangzom Brauen has given us a book full of love, courage, and triumph,as well as allowing us a rare and vivid glimpse of life in rural Tibet before the arrival of the Chinese. Most importantly, though,ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS is a testament to three strong, determined women who are linked by an unbreakable family bond.
Daughters of the Samurai by
Publication Date: 2015-05-04
In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States. Their mission: learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan.Raised in traditional samurai households during the turmoil of civil war, three of these unusual ambassadors--Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda--grew up as typical American schoolgirls. Upon their arrival in San Francisco they became celebrities, their travels and traditional clothing exclaimed over by newspapers across the nation. As they learned English and Western customs, their American friends grew to love them for their high spirits and intellectual brilliance.The passionate relationships they formed reveal an intimate world of cross-cultural fascination and connection. Ten years later, they returned to Japan--a land grown foreign to them--determined to revolutionize women's education.Based on in-depth archival research in Japan and in the United States, including decades of letters from between the three women and their American host families, Daughters of the Samurai is beautifully, cinematically written, a fascinating lens through which to view an extraordinary historical moment.
Learning to Die in Miami by
A stranger in a strange land, Eire (Waiting for Snow in Havana), one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba in Operation Peter Pan in 1962, describes the classic American immigrant experience in Miami, Fla., with a mix of insightful observation, humor, and heartfelt emotion.
My Two Chinas by
Baiqiao Tang is one of China’s most influential modern dissidents. Tang’s name became legendary during the time of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Over the past 21 years, he has remained on the front lines of the Chinese pro-democracy movement, where he has vowed to keep fighting until the dream of a free China is realized.
In 1989, Tang was a student leader organizing pro-democracy demonstrations in Hunan province. On June 4 of that year, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) quashed the movement Tang helped to lead in the now infamous Tiananmen Square massacre. During the nationwide crackdown that ensued against "counterrevolutionaries," the CCP issued a warrant for Tang’s arrest. Tang recalls in detail his shock upon seeing his face plastered on a "wanted" poster at a train station. He attempted to flee to Macau but was captured before he could cross the border. In prison, Tang witnessed and endured medieval tortures that no human should ever experience. Eventually, he escaped to America with help from the United States government.
Now living in exile in New York City, Baiqiao Tang has become a living legend among the millions of people worldwide who fight for a free and open society. China’s recent, stratospheric rise to prominence on the world stage has brought its government under increased pressure to account for its notorious human rights atrocities inflicted on its own people.
This unique, timely, suspenseful, and ultimately inspiring memoir will resonate with people from all walks of life and from all backgrounds who care about human rights and the future of free society.
Outcasts United by
The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston's refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees. Set against the backdrop of an American town that without its consent had become a vast social experiment, Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach. Warren St. John documents the lives of a diverse group of young people as they miraculously coalesce into a band of brothers, while also drawing a fascinating portrait of a fading American town struggling to accommodate its new arrivals. At the center of the story is fiery Coach Luma, who relentlessly drives her players to success on the soccer field while holding together their lives and the lives of their families in the face of a series of daunting challenges. This fast-paced chronicle of a single season is a complex and inspiring tale of a small town becoming a global community and an account of the ingenious and complicated ways we create a home in a changing world.
Publication Date: 2017-02-07
Profoundly moving and gracefully told, PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life. So begins a sweeping saga of exceptional people in exile from a homeland they never knew and caught in the indifferent arc of history. In Japan, Sunja's family members endure harsh discrimination, catastrophes, and poverty, yet they also encounter great joy as they pursue their passions and rise to meet the challenges this new home presents. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, they are bound together by deep roots as their family faces enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.
The Story of My Life by
Ahmedi was born just as the war between the mujahideen and the Soviets reaches its peak in Afghanistan. The sounds of gunfire and fighter planes were as normal to her as the sounds of traffic or children playing are to a schoolgirl in America. When she stepped on a land mine on her way to school, she began to learn--slowly--that ordinary people, often strangers, have immense power to save lives and restore hope. She was taken from a childhood in Afghanistan, where the classrooms are naked chambers with only chalkboards on the walls and are filled with more students than seats (and no books), to a Chicago adolescence, where teenagers struggle to decide whether to try out for school plays, whom to take to the homecoming dance, and where to go to college.
A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by
Publication Date: 2017-01-24
The stunning story of a young woman, an international crisis, and the triumph of the human spirit. Adrift in a frigid sea, no land in sight--just debris from the ship's wreckage and floating corpses all around--nineteen-year-old Doaa Al Zamel floats with a small inflatable water ring around her waist and clutches two children, barely toddlers, to her body. The children had been thrust into Doaa's arms by their drowning relatives, all refugees who boarded a dangerously overcrowded ship bound for Sweden and a new life. For days, Doaa floats, prays, and sings to the babies in her arms. Shemust stay alive for these children. She must not lose hope. Doaa Al Zamel was once an average Syrian girl growing up in a crowded house in a bustling city near the Jordanian border. But in 2011, her life was upended. Inspired by the events of the Arab Spring, Syrians began to stand up against their own oppressive regime. When the army was sent to take control of Doaa's hometown, strict curfews, power outages, water shortages, air raids, and violence disrupted everyday life. After Doaa's father's barbershop was destroyed and rumors of women being abducted spread through the community, her family decided to leave Syria for Egypt, where they hoped to stay in peace until they could return home. Only months after their arrival, the Egyptian government was overthrown and the environment turned hostile for refugees. In the midst of this chaos, Doaa falls in love with a young opposition fighter who proposes marriage and convinces her to flee to the promise of safety and a better future in Europe. Terrified and unable to swim, Doaa and her young fiance hand their life savings to smugglers and board a dilapidated fishing vessel with five hundred other refugees, including a hundred children. After four horrifying days at sea, another ship, filled with angry men shouting insults, rams into Doaa's boat, sinking it and leaving the passengers to drown. That is where Doaa's struggle for survival really begins. A Hope More Powerful Than the Seais an emotionally charged, eye-opening true story that represents the millions of unheard voices of refugees who risk everything in a desperate search for the promise of a safe future. Melissa Fleming sheds light on the most pressing humanitarian crisis of our time and paints a vivid, unforgettable portrait of the triumph of the human spirit.