Mayflower 400 Southampton

Southampton City libraries and Mayflower 400 programme celebrate Refugee Week with online events

15 Jun 2020

Southampton City Libraries are hosting an exciting range of online events for adults and children for Refugee Week, 15-21 June, to explore the themes of journeys, migration and sanctuary, which are at the heart of the city’s Mayflower 400 programme.

Refugee Week is a UK-wide annual festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and an understanding of why people seek sanctuary. The Mayflower 400 programme here in Southampton also seeks to explore all aspects of this story and to broaden understanding about all peoples who have come to, or through, Southampton in search of a new life, and those impacted by this migration.

Watch a fascinating interview with Christy Lefteri, the author of the best-selling novel “The Beekeeper of Aleppo”.

This thought-provoking book, one of Richard and Judy’s book club choices and winner of the Aspen Words Literary Prize 2020, encompasses all the themes of Refugee Week. It tells the story of Nuri and Afra who are forced to flee the city of Aleppo, when war breaks out and the dangerous journey they undertake to an unknown future in the UK.

Allison Kirby, Reading and Resources Development Officer at the library said: “It was a real pleasure to chat to Christy about the inspiration behind the book and it really opened my eyes to the perilous journeys undertaken by refugees in the hope of finding a place of sanctuary”.

The interview will be broadcast on our Facebook page on Friday 19 June, 6pm.

Anyone wishing to read or listen to The Beekeeper of Aleppo can download a free copy from Borrowbox our digital books service. You will need the Borrowbox App and your library card and PIN. If you don’t have either click here.

On Borrowbox you will also find a great selection of books to read highlighting refugee stories, experiences and journeys.

The Basque Children’s arrival in Southampton in 1937

A refugee story from the Library Archives, we tell the story of the children who were offered sanctuary in Southampton, following the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. 

Find an overview of the story on our Facebook page, Thursday 18 June, from 7am. A plaque thanking the city of Southampton who volunteered to care for these children can be found outside Southampton Central Library today.

Story Time and Craft Activity for children

We have a wonderful story for young children to enjoy, Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour, read by a member of library staff. Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Lubna tells pebble everything. About home, about her brothers, about the war. But when a lost little boy arrives in the world of tents, Lubna understands he needs pebble even more than she does…

Children will also be able to take part in a great craft activity – Make a home for Pebble

Available on our Facebook page  on Tuesday 16 June, 6pm

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes, Communities and Culture, said: “Southampton has a rich and proud history of welcoming people from around the world and being a place of sanctuary for them. It has made our city the great place it is. Pleased we will be sharing our stories through our amazing libraries and online events during Refugee Week. During a time of uncertainty and heightened race awareness it’s important we play our part to build understanding and celebrate the talent, expertise and other contributions refugees make within our local communities.”  


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