If you’ve ever been curious about the creative mind of refugee children, you need wonder no more. Travelling Tales is a collection of unique fairy tales written exclusively by refugee children in Greece. The stories are just as fun and outlandish as you might expect from a fairy tale, with everything from chickens taking on an alien invasion to a dog who plays rugby to a king who finally grew to realize his love of animals. By creating such stories, the children were allowed to focus on something bigger than themselves and their complex lives for a moment. The idea behind it was to engage children in talking about their journeys and experiences in their refugee state in an indirect way, by creating lavish scenarios and characters that allowed them creative expression and a much-needed outlet.

Workshops were run with both Kurdish and Syrian children between the ages of four and 14 inside of three different refugee camps located in Lagadikia, Vasilika and Oreokastro. This fairy tale collection features stories from boys and girls alike, all of which migrated from different places and have since settled in Greece. Most of these children are in waiting, ready to continue their trip into Europe. All of the stories were written and created by children and adults helped to compile them together; that is as far as adult hands went in the making of this book.

Those adults that spent time helping the children spent roughly four months with them, helping to understand and relay their stories. Some of the children knew English well and were able to easily communicate their ideas; other children spoke less of the language and used a translator who also spent time with them in order to bring their stories to life and develop them clearly.

A few of the children had already gone through the creative process before the book was brought to life, already possessing stories and characters in their minds. For those children, they relayed the stories orally, and later an adult would turn those tales into the text that would be added to the book. In many cases, the children were full of great ideas that had not yet been fully developed. The adults involved helped the children gently along the way by asking questions to help guide them to the end of their stories. Following this process, the stories were later illustrated by a number of different artists who got input from the children in order to bring these characters and scenes to life in a way that reflected the cultural background of the children.

The entire point of this endeavor was to get the stories of the children. None of the words were changed, none of the stories altered, and nothing was added that the children did not say themselves. The result is a truly heartwarming and authentic collection of literature straight from the minds of strong, empowered children. Proceeds from the book sales will be given to support projects that are working to find housing solutions as an alternative to military camps.

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