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From Far Away



Escaping from a war-torn country should be exciting for a young child living a life fraught with the danger of being shot or bombed.  However, as Saoussan recounts the panic of plane travel, the anxiety of a language barrier and the fear of a foreign culture it becomes clear that moving abroad is just as terrifying as home.  Fortunately, her teachers and fellow students help her adapt and Saoussan soon becomes ensconced in a secure new life.  This personal story, written in partnership with Robert Munsch, provides young readers with insight into the struggles of refugee children while delivering a powerful message about how empathy and sensitivity can help overcome the challenges facing newcomers to Canada.

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This book supports Grade K-4 Social Studies curriculum exploring cultural diversity, immigration, interrelationships between humans and universal human rights.  As students read and discuss the story they will also use English Language Arts skills related to sharing ideas, describing personal feelings and questioning to clarify understanding.

In writing her story Saoussan Askar identifies the importance of her student "buddy", other students and teachers in helping her achieve success in her new school.  This information could become the basis of an action project where students create a welcome package and buddy program for new pupils arriving from other countries.  The package might include visual components such as a school map, a cafeteria menu with pictures and word cards with pictures for requests like the bathroom.  The peer buddies could travel with new students throughout the school day and use tools like Google translate to interact with their new friend.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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Themes Addressed

Human Rights (3)

  • Cultural Diversity
  • Refugees and Immigration
  • War and Peace