Published on world refugee day, the novel Child I highlights child refugees


English author Steve Tasane’s touching novel Child I was published on the UN’s World Refugee Day in June. It is a beautiful and eye-opening story of survival, friendship and hope among children in a refugee camp. Otava will donate five euros from the sale of every book to Save the Children Finland.

In 2000, the UN General Assembly decided to combine refugee day traditions from a number of countries into a global theme day on 20 June, Africa Refugee Day.

420 million children – almost one out of every five children in the world – currently live in or under the shadow of a conflict zone. The number of children living in conflict zones has almost doubled since the end of the Cold War. Hundreds of thousands of children die every year from the indirect impacts of conflict, for example, from malnutrition or disease.

– There are currently about 50 million children on the move around the world. More than half of them – an estimated 28 million – have fled from violent conflicts or insecurity. All of these children have lost their homes and familiar surroundings, but many have also been separated from their families. Displacement is a growing phenomenon,  says Jenni Häikiö, a project planner at Save the Children Finland.

In Steve Tasane’s youth novel Child I, a group of undocumented children are stuck in a refugee camp. They each have a story, but without proof no one will believe them. They no longer even have names. However, the children have found a new family in each other. This enchanting tale brings to life a world that, in spite of its harsh reality, is full of playfulness, imagination, caring and hope.

– The refugee children that we encounter in our work have the same hopes, fears and dreams as all children do. Although they have been forced to flee and have often been through some tough experiences, they rarely think of themselves as refugees. They are simply children who no longer have homes, says Jenni Häikiö.

Save the Children Finland is part of the international umbrella organisation Save the Children, which will celebrate its centenary this year. Its theme for 2020 is ‘Stop the War on Children’. Otava Publishing Company will be donating five euros from the sale of every copy of Child I to Save the Children Finland’s emergency fund.