Nosy Crow is publishing a retelling of the nativity story to raise money for War Child, a charity that supports Syrian refugee children.
Picture book Refuge will be published on 12th November (r.r.p. £7.99) and is the idea of author Anne Booth, who wanted to write about how Jesus, Mary and Joseph became refugees to escape King Herod. She said: “I think a lot about this when I see any refugees—and the current pictures of families fleeing Syria have reinforced this— how Jesus was a refugee and how part of celebrating Jesus’ birth is also remembering the fact that he was given refuge as a baby and escaped being killed.”
She added: “I hope it will touch religious and non-religious people alike, as we all care about this situation.”
Her agent, Anne Clark, sent the manuscript to Nosy Crow, which had already been considering how to respond to the current refugee crisis. In an open letter to booksellers, available to read here, Kate Wilson, m.d. of Nosy Crow, said Booth’s text made “some of us cry with the beauty of the writing and the way it took a story that is already familiar and moving for many of us and cast it in a completely new light.”
Nosy Crow enlisted Sam Usher, who has visited the refugee camp in Calais, to illustrate the book, and will donate £5 from every book sold to War Child. All of the parties involved in creating the book have done so for free.
“Nosy Crow won’t make any money at all from Refuge, which is why I don’t hesitate for a second in asking you to support it as strongly as you can,” Wilson wrote in her letter to booksellers.
The money raised will aid War Child in its work supporting Syrian children and families in camps in Jordan and northern Iraq, as well as other children displaced by war, she added. “It’s a small, focused charity, and it is delighted to be involved [with Refuge].”
The book will be published complete with a quote from Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, who said Refuge was “an important Christmas book”. Riddell added that it is a “book to share with a lump in your throat and an ache in your heart until the beauty and hope of the very last page”.