Angela May George hopes her new children’s book will not only open eyes, but open minds.
The Camden author’s book Out, which was launched on Friday night, tells the story of a little girl and her mother making a treacherous journey to Australia to seek asylum.
The long-gestating book – first started 10 years ago – has been published by the Australian branch of Scholastic.
Ms George said she has “always had great compassion for refugees” and wanted to tell a story that would both educate young children unfamiliar with the plight of asylum seekers and also give young refugees a chance to recognise something of their own journeys on the page.
“My mum used to work with children who had come to Australia as refugees,” she said. “When she would tell me their stories I would think, ‘wow, that’s so different from me’. I’ve spoken to a lot of refugees for this book and they all have very different stories, but they also have things in common.”
Ms George said it was important not to underestimate the intelligence of children and let them make up their own minds after reading a story.
“It’s always nice to present the story in a way that does their intelligence justice,” she said. “It’s important to be fairly non-political, to just put the story out there and let the children come to their own conclusions.”
She said with asylum seeking gaining global attention, it can be helpful to provide children with an “evocative” story that’s easier to understand than what they see on TV.