State of the world’s children, 2008

The State of the World’s Children, 2008 has been released by UNICEF.

The report examines child survival and primary health care for mothers, newborns and children today. Refugee children are highlighted throughout the report. Some of the key findings (from the Executive Summary) include:

The need to focus on the countries and communities where child mortality rates and levels are highest, and on those hat are most at risk of missing out on essential primary health care.

The merits of packaging essential services together to improve the coverage and efficacy of interventions.

The vital importance of community partnerships in actively engaging community members as health workers and mobilizing the community in support of improved health practices.

The imperative of providing a continuum of care across the life cycle, linking households and communities with outreach and extension services and facility-based care.

The benefits of a strategic, results-oriented approach to health-system development with maternal, newborn and child care as a central part.

The crucial role of political commitment, national and international leadership and sustained financing in strengthening health systems.

The necessity for greater harmonization of global health programmes and partnerships.

For more information, including statistical tables, charts, graphs, photographs, regional reports, how to order hard copies, and special panel reports on child mortality, newborn survival, child health in complex medical emergencies, and birth registration (to name only a few) see the UNICEF webpage.

Children’s books about immigration

In recognition of Family Literacy Day, coming up January 27, 2008, here is a list of children’s picture and chapter books about immigration. Some of these titles came from the Children’s Literature listserv, Child_Lit.

I do not know all of the titles but I thought a list might be useful to those of us with an interest in children’s literature and immigration. If you know these books, or are aware of links to the authors or reviews or anything else that might be interesting/useful for blog readers, please let me know.

Alvarez, Julia. (1991). How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.

Ashley, Bernard. (1991). Little Soldier.

Blohom, Judith & Terri Lapinsky. (2006). Kids Like Me: Voices of the Immigrant Experience.

Bloom, Valerie. (2004). Surprising Joy.

Brown, Jackie. (2004). Little Cricket.

Campling, Annie. (1998). Smiling for Strangers.

Cheng, Andrea. (2004). Honeysuckle House.

Ellis, Sarah. (2001). A Prairie as Wide as the Sea: The Immigrant Diary of Ivy Weatherall.

Ernest, Kate Elizabeth. (1994). Hope Leaves Jamaica.

Evans, Alwyn. (2004). Walk in My Shoes.

Fleming, Candace. (2008). Lowji Discovers America.

French, Jackie. (2001). How the Finnegans Saved the Ship.

Hawke, Rosanne. (2004). Soraya the Storyteller.

Hodge, Deborah and John Mantha. The Kids Book of Canadian Immigration.

Hearn, Emily and Marywinn Milne. (2007). Our New Home: Immigrant Children Speak.

Kidd, Diana. (1991). Illustrated by Lucy Montgomery.

Kurtz, Jane. (2000). Faraway Home.

Kurtz, Jane. (2005). In the Small, Small Night.

Lasky, Kathryn. (1999). Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City 1903.

Matas, Carol. (2002). Footsteps in the Snow: The Red River Diary of Isobel Scott.

Munsch, Robert. (1995). From Far Away.

Munoz Ryan, Pam. (2001). Esperanza Rising.

Naidoo, Beverley. (2000). The Other Side of Truth.

Orr, Wendy. (1995). Yasou Nikki.

Pak, Soyung. (1990). Dear Juno.

Park, Frances and Ginger Park. (2005). Goodbye 382 Shin Dang Dong.

Reich, Jose. Illustrated by Raul Colon. Born to Dance: The True Story of Jose Limon.

Say, Allen. (1993). Grandfather’s Journey.

Say, Allen. (2002). Home of the Brave.

Sheth, Kashmira. (2003). Blue Jasmine.

So, John. (2003). Finding my Hat.

Starke, Ruth. (2005). Orphans of the Queen.

Testa, Maria. (2005). Something About America.

Wolf, Bernard. Coming to America:A Muslim Family’s Story.

Yoo, David. (2005). Girls for Breakfast.

Wilkes, Sybella. (1994). One Day We Had To Run: Refugee Children Tell Their Stories in Words and Paintings.

Launch of the OECD thematic review of migrant education

Migration is a key policy area of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Speech of Deputy Secretary-General Aart de Geus at the launch of the OECD Thematic Review on Migrant Education, Jan 21-22, 2008:

“The education of migrants is challenging and complex, not least because each migrant group has its own distinctive history. And so does each country, where often, different layers are built up.

Migration is one of the Organisation’s central priorities. Indeed it is a topic that comes up regularly at Ministerial Council and other high level meetings and will continue to do so. So you can help us — your work over the next year or so will help policymakers across the OECD understand better how to tackle migration challenges effectively – through education. The patterns of migration differ from country to country and can change over time – perhaps reflecting shifts in policy or maybe other factors. However, one thing is clear. No matter which scenario we take, international migration is here to stay”.

Country Notes and Background Reports will be available soon on the OECD Migrant Education website.

Canadian Council for Refugees winter working group meetings

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) winter working group meetings will be held February 22-23, 2008 in Toronto.

The working groups provide a forum for CCR members and other refugee and immigrant rights advocates to come together to share information and to work together in areas of common concern.

The CCR working groups meet four times a year. Two of these meetings take place during the semi-annual CCR consultations. The other working group meetings take place in February (in Toronto) and in September (in Montreal).

From the CCR website: “The working group meetings offer an excellent opportunity to:

  • Participate in efforts to promote refugee protection and resettlement, and the settlement of refugees and immigrants
  • Discuss in depth pressing issues affecting refugees and immigrants in Canada
  • Share information and strategies with others from across Canada”.

Fri. Feb 22nd meeting: Inland protection working group & Immigration and settlement working group.

Sat. Feb 23rd meeting: Overseas protection and sponsorship working group.

York University summer course on refugee issues

The Centre for Refugee Studies at York University in Toronto is holding a summer course on refugee issues from June 7-14, 2008.

From the website, this description:

“The course is designed for academic and field-based practitioners working in the area of forced migration. Participants typically include government officials, non-governmental personnel, university faculty, and graduate students”.

Topics proposed for this year’s summer course include: the root causes of forced migration, refugee status and definition, human rights, and resettlement. I did not see any specific reference on children, parents or families, but I hope that the course will address issues related to refugee children, parents, and families or at least that students of the course raise them.

More from the course website:

“The summer course provides an interdisciplinary, interactive and experiential approach to the study of forced migration. Through attending lectures and related small group sessions, course participants develop a deepened understanding of the political, economic, social and cultural contexts of forced migration, and the major state and non-state institutions involved in refugee protection and advocacy”.

Students in the course are involved in simulated refugee hearings held at the Immigration and Refugee Board in Toronto. Students take on different roles and conduct mock hearings.

For more information, including costs, location, and applications, see the website.

Ontario Newcomer Settlement program funding

The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration has opened a call for applications for its 2008-2009 Ontario Newcomer Settlement program. The program is described as: “funding to community-based not-for-profit organizations across Ontario to facilitate the settlement and integration of newcomers to Ontario. The goal of the program is to help newcomers succeed and have the opportunity to contribute to all aspects of life in Ontario”.

Funding is provided to initiatives that:

  • Focus on finding new ways of meeting existing and emerging needs by filling service gaps;
  • Deliver effective programs and services for newcomers;
  • Improve coordination between settlement and other services – social, educational, language training, labor-market integration – needed by newcomers;
  • Increase the effectiveness of the settlement service delivery system through the development of innovative solutions to sector issues and collaboration with other service providers.

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be incorporated as a non-profit organization for at least two years and have at least two years experience in providing services for newcomer populations.

See the website for more information.Deadline is February 15, 2008.

L1 has been launched by Dr. Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Ryerson University.

The site provides research-based information about the importance of maintaining and protecting the many minority languages of young children spoken in homes across Canada.

The goal of is to help parents, teachers, early childhood educators and other children’s services practitioners understand the personal, social, linguistic and academic reasons for maintaining and protecting home languages (L1).


Scholars for the study of immigrant families

An interesting initiative that brings together researchers with an interest in studying immigrant families. Sound familiar?

The initiative is a result of a discussion held at the 2006 Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) conference. The purpose of the Scholars the Study of Immigrant Families includes:

Building a network of scholars studying issues pertaining to immigration and immigrant families and promoting collaboration between junior and senior researchers.

Promoting the use of innovative and culturally/contextually-embedded research methods.

Preserving the richness and realities of immigrant families’ lived experiences and providing representation of those voices within the institution of academia.


Researchers interested in studying immigrant families are invited to join the Scholars group and post their research interests and etc. on the website. Looks like a good source for networking! and not just for Americans.

A pre-session is being planned for SRA 2008 – coming up March 6-9th in Chicago and will include: 1) a discussion of methods and best practices in the study of immigrant families and 2) a discussion of policy initiatives the Scholars group would like to undertake.

More more info contact María Hernández, Jackie Nguyen or Carrie Saetermoe.

‘For our kids’, video from

For Our Kids is a video that features nine parents talking about their – and their children’s experiences – as newcomers to the Ontario school system.

The video is a resource for immigrant parents and addresses several ways that parents are and can be involved in their child’s school. Teachers also talk about the importance of parent involvement.

See the video (and other supporting resources) at

The impact of changing demographics on maternal and child health

Best Start: Ontario’s Maternal, Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre will feature a keynote on cultural diversity at their annual conference, to be held Feb 27-29/08 in Scarborough.

From the conference website, this description:

“Ontario’s demographics are rapidly changing and the composition of our communities reflects the increasing diversity of the population. These changes have a significant impact on the planning and delivery of services across the province, in both large and small communities as well as urban and rural. Following an overview on the extent of these demographic changes, panelists will help us understand some of the specific implications for maternal and child health programs, and strategies to ensure that our programs meet the needs of our growing diverse population”.

Panelists are: Judith Bernhard, Ryerson University, Linda Kongnetiman, Calgary Health Region and Dr. Doug Norris, Environics Analytics.

The Arrival – a picture book about immigration

In The Arrival, author/illustrator Shaun Tan “tells” the story (without words) of an immigrant in a new land. Tan’s description:

“The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope”.

It is both a book for children and a book for adults. It is beautiful, compelling and a must-see. Tan has won several children’s literature awards for this work. See Shaun Tan’s website for more on The Arrival, including some of the illustrations.