RainbowBirdThe two books I’m reading this month seem to share a common theme, and while reading those books I remembered a beautiful picture book, created by Czenya Cavouras when she was only fourteen, which also captures the experience of the refugee seeking asylum in Australia.

Rainbow Bird is a story told from the perspective of a child, who leaves her home country to come to Australia and on arrival is placed in a detention centre. The text on each page is limited to one short sentence, but together with the illustrations, nothing more is needed. The brilliance of this book is that it was created by a child with the intention of helping other children to learn about and experience what some children have to go through to be safe. Living in a safe place should be a right but it is a privilege.

It seems to be that slowly, the public are asking more and more questions about what happens to asylum seekers on their arrival to Australia, but it is books like Rainbow Bird, told with the hope, innocence and belief of a child, which reminds us that this issue is more than just political fodder. These are individuals who have been running for their lives, searching for a safe place, and holding on to the hope that Australia will be the sanctuary they’ve been looking for.

Rainbow Bird, published by www.australiansagainstracism.org (It appears that this organisation no longer exists under this name) in association with Wakefield Press, 2007