Jen Sookfong Lee explains what she hopes young readers take away from Finding Home

What drives people to search for new homes? From war zones to politics, there are many reasons why people have always searched for a place to call home. In Finding Home: The Journey of Immigrants and Refugees we discover how human migration has shaped our world. We explore its origins and the current issues facing immigrants and refugees today, and we hear the first-hand stories of people who have moved across the globe looking for safety, security and happiness. Author Jen Sookfong Lee shares her personal experience of growing up as the child of immigrants and gives a human face to the realities of being an immigrant or refugee today.

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Finding Home is out now! Look for it at your favourite bookstores or place an order at orcabook.com.

In this video, Jen Sookfong Lee explains what compelled her to write this book and what she hopes young readers can take away from it.

Below, you can read the video transcript.

Video Transcript:

Hi, everyone! 

My name is Jen Sookfong Lee and I’m the author of the brand new book for kids called Finding Home: The Journey of Immigrants and Refugees

Immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers are often in the news because of war, politics, even economics, and it seemed to me that children—including my son, who’s about to turn 11—were hearing and seeing these news stories but weren’t really hearing the background or the facts, all of these things that contribute to the reasons people migrate to different countries.

Migration is pretty complicated, it’s a many-layered topic, and I thought it would be a good idea to break it down into its component parts so that children could understand the issue and so that we could also put a human face on the issue of immigration, and also on the issue of people who are fleeing conflict or persecution in search of a safe home for their families.

In Finding Home, I write about the history of migration, about colonization, racism, and refugee camps, in ways that are approachable for children who may come to this book with lots of questions—maybe questions that they haven’t asked anyone before—and through the stories of real-life families, the children can to know people who have left their homes or been forced to leave their homes to seek new lives in new places.

At the end of the day, people move around the world to find opportunity, to find safety, and also happiness, which is all any of us can really hope for or all any of us want. As kids read through Finding Home, my hope is that they see the families behind the numbers and the news stories and understand that immigrants and refugees are really not all that different from you, me, or anyone else.

We all want the same thing: to be safe and happy.

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Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised on Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award; The End of East; Gentlemen of the Shade; Chinese New Year and The Animals of Chinese New Year. Jen was a columnist for CBC Radio One’s The Next Chapter for many years. She teaches at The Writer’s Studio Online with Simon Fraser University, edits fiction for Wolsak & Wynn and co-hosts the literary podcast Can’t Lit.

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