New Home: How Can Children become Active Participants in Literary Research into Refugee Narratives?

Helen King is a Research Associate in the School of English at Newcastle University. She received her PhD from Newcastle University, and her thesis explored the work and archive of children’s author Beverley Naidoo, focusing particularly on the political functions of children’s literature. Her interests include reader response research, radical children’s literature, narratives of displacement and migration, and participatory approaches to childhood studies. Her current work at Newcastle University forms part of a Nuffield Foundation project ‘Understanding Communities’, exploring children’s accounts and experiences of community integration. Her contribution to this research uses school and literary archives to uncover children’s voices and explore children’s experiences of migration to the UK. Her project for the School of Advanced Study builds on her previous research into refugee narratives in children’s books, using New Home, a children’s book written and illustrated by asylum seekers living in the North East of England. This project partners with Tyneside primary schools, involving children as co-researchers in reader response research. This research aims to explore the question: how do we tell refugee stories for children?