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From Bombs to Books: The Remarkable Stories of Refugee Children and Their Families at an Exceptional Canadian School

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David Starr is the principal of one of the most diverse elementary schools in Canada. The students at Edmonds Community School in Burnaby, BC come from all over the world -- Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, El Salvador, and many other places. Their parents are often refugees who have overcome harrowing events and circumstances in order David Starr is the principal of one of the most diverse elementary schools in Canada. The students at Edmonds Community School in Burnaby, BC come from all over the world -- Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, El Salvador, and many other places. Their parents are often refugees who have overcome harrowing events and circumstances in order to find safety in Canada. And like them, their children have often escaped war zones and witnessed horrific events before finally landing at the school. In From Bombs to Books, David Starr shares the deeply moving stories of his students, their parents, and the staff at Edmonds who support them. He describes the upheavals many of these families have undergone and how they managed to flee some of the most dangerous lands and people on earth. He paints portraits of students who are often troubled by what they have experienced, but just as often they are of surprisingly happy and normal children who have put their families' grief and trauma behind them. He also describes teachers and social workers who have embraced these families and dedicated themselves to making a difference in their lives. Sometimes funny, sometimes touching and inspirational, From Bombs to Books shares the remarkable stories of the children, the families, and the staff at an exceptional Canadian school.


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David Starr is the principal of one of the most diverse elementary schools in Canada. The students at Edmonds Community School in Burnaby, BC come from all over the world -- Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, El Salvador, and many other places. Their parents are often refugees who have overcome harrowing events and circumstances in order David Starr is the principal of one of the most diverse elementary schools in Canada. The students at Edmonds Community School in Burnaby, BC come from all over the world -- Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, El Salvador, and many other places. Their parents are often refugees who have overcome harrowing events and circumstances in order to find safety in Canada. And like them, their children have often escaped war zones and witnessed horrific events before finally landing at the school. In From Bombs to Books, David Starr shares the deeply moving stories of his students, their parents, and the staff at Edmonds who support them. He describes the upheavals many of these families have undergone and how they managed to flee some of the most dangerous lands and people on earth. He paints portraits of students who are often troubled by what they have experienced, but just as often they are of surprisingly happy and normal children who have put their families' grief and trauma behind them. He also describes teachers and social workers who have embraced these families and dedicated themselves to making a difference in their lives. Sometimes funny, sometimes touching and inspirational, From Bombs to Books shares the remarkable stories of the children, the families, and the staff at an exceptional Canadian school.

30 review for From Bombs to Books: The Remarkable Stories of Refugee Children and Their Families at an Exceptional Canadian School

  1. 4 out of 5

    Oana

    A book about two schools in my neighbourhood, I highly recommend this book for any citizen who lives near new immigrant neighbours and especially to Vancouverites. Though I went to elementary and high school not far from Edmonds Community School and the Byrne Creek High School, the demographics of this city have changed quite a bit since my time, with more refugees from war-torn countries like Iraq, Aghanistan, the Congo, Liberia and so on. I was a refugee too, but wow, my family was lucky compa A book about two schools in my neighbourhood, I highly recommend this book for any citizen who lives near new immigrant neighbours and especially to Vancouverites. Though I went to elementary and high school not far from Edmonds Community School and the Byrne Creek High School, the demographics of this city have changed quite a bit since my time, with more refugees from war-torn countries like Iraq, Aghanistan, the Congo, Liberia and so on. I was a refugee too, but wow, my family was lucky compared to the families in this book. This book shines a light on the immense challenges that immigrant kids face. Hopefully by reading this, more Canadians can learn to be compassionate and understanding.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ngaio

    It's really nice to read a local book for a change. Burnaby has done a remarkable job integrating refugee students into their schools. It's not all sunshine and roses, but it's impressive. Starr shares some of the often harrowing, stories of families in his school and all they've been through just to get to Canada. He's particularly good at humanizing so the stories are more than just statistics. I would have liked a more in-depth description of the 'community school' model that he briefly touch It's really nice to read a local book for a change. Burnaby has done a remarkable job integrating refugee students into their schools. It's not all sunshine and roses, but it's impressive. Starr shares some of the often harrowing, stories of families in his school and all they've been through just to get to Canada. He's particularly good at humanizing so the stories are more than just statistics. I would have liked a more in-depth description of the 'community school' model that he briefly touches upon.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rochelle C

    This school and community remind me so much of the one I currently teach at. Thank you David Starr for writing this book and also to the amazing, courageous and resilient students and families who shared their experiences. Much love and respect to you all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    K-Moss

    Informative book if you want to know more about what refugees experience. Some, but not many strategies shared. More about sharing stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    Absolutely fabulous but I will admit, that I am a bit biased, seeing as I taught at this school for a year with Dave as my principal. I knew this book was going to be about the horrifying and shocking stories of what the families went through in their home countries, before coming to Canada to find a better life. But I was pleasently surprised that although the stories are even worse than I could even imagine, the overal theme and feeling of this book is hope. The stories are told almost from fir Absolutely fabulous but I will admit, that I am a bit biased, seeing as I taught at this school for a year with Dave as my principal. I knew this book was going to be about the horrifying and shocking stories of what the families went through in their home countries, before coming to Canada to find a better life. But I was pleasently surprised that although the stories are even worse than I could even imagine, the overal theme and feeling of this book is hope. The stories are told almost from first person view. The stories are coming from the story-teller's heart and soul and even though they have gone through things that most Westerners can not even begin to comprehend, these people and family have come to Canada still with hope in their hearts. Unfortunatly, many of them continue to struggle in their new adoptive country, which I witnessed personally, but overall, the book speaks of hope, determination and the willingness to fight for what all human beings deserve; love and respect. I'll be passing this book on to as many educators and friends as I can. I know Edmonds Community School has a reputation in Burnaby and even in B.C. as a rough, difficult, inner-city school. But after reading this book and for anyone who has taught at this school, hopefully their image of Edmonds will change to see what's really at the heart of the school; the kids and their hope for the future.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    Wow! I read this book because I was copyediting the second edition, forthcoming in a few months! I highly recommend this book to Canadians at all interested in refugees coming to our country. The book reveals the stories of about a dozen refugee families living in Burnaby, B.C., telling about how they came to be refugees, giving a brief personal and political history, and ultimately finding hope and courage from each story of survival. The author is a principal at a school with a high proportion Wow! I read this book because I was copyediting the second edition, forthcoming in a few months! I highly recommend this book to Canadians at all interested in refugees coming to our country. The book reveals the stories of about a dozen refugee families living in Burnaby, B.C., telling about how they came to be refugees, giving a brief personal and political history, and ultimately finding hope and courage from each story of survival. The author is a principal at a school with a high proportion of new Canadians, including refugees, attending his school, and so he also has some wisdom to share with those looking to integrate refugees in their schools and communities.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I read this book and cried throughout it. I have had the priviledge of teaching the most of the students mentioned in this book. I knew some of their stories but not the details that David Starr was able to write about. Thank you Dave for telling their stories.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I shed a lot of tears through this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anna-Marie Mackenzie

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Krenzler

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Enriquez

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen McRae

  13. 5 out of 5

    Madrigal

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elina

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Beck

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nitoo6of6

  18. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

  19. 4 out of 5

    Seina

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bati

  21. 5 out of 5

    Janet Les

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  23. 5 out of 5

    Suchita

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angie

  25. 5 out of 5

    A Yusuf

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Tan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Fallon Burns

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kim M

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