Refugees are people who are seeking a safe haven after being forced to flee violence, persecution and war. Chased by bullets and bombs, children and families are literally running for their lives. The word refugee comes from the word refuge – "the state of being sheltered from pursuit, danger or difficulty". There are more than 25 million refugees worldwide. More than 11 million of them are children. Refugee children are among the most vulnerable in the world. Every day, they risk loss of some kind, including the loss of the future that every child deserves.
K’naan, who immigrated to Toronto from Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1991, is a talented musician who raises social and economic issues through his songs. He has recently released a beautifully written and illustrated story, Wavin’ Flag, the same title as his hit song. This book tells his story of life as a refugee in a child-friendly manner. In Wavin’ Flag, K’naan shares how the wise words of his grandfather, “When I get older, I will be stronger, They’ll call me freedom, just like a waving flag,” got him through the struggles of living through war, immigrating to a new country, learning a new language, and being teased and bullied. The key role of music in K’naan’s life now, and as a child, is evident. This story shares how he depended on music as it provided something for him to love, gave him a way to connect with other kids in school, and helped him feel safe. The music and lyrics to “Wavin’ Flag” are printed at the end of the book along with a brief history of Somalia.
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