The cover of the book 'Superman was a refugee too' | CREDIT: UNHCR
The cover of the book 'Superman was a refugee too' | CREDIT: UNHCR

The UN refugee agency UNHCR has launched a book in Italy called 'Anche Superman era un rifugiato' (Superman was a refugee too) with stories about refugees by 12 writers and 12 illustrators set in the present and past.

The book - which is being released in Italy - pays tribute to famous refugees from the past and the present, from reality and fiction. 

"Superman too was a refugee'' includes the stories of famous refugees like Aeneas and Dante. Aeneas - a hero from ancient Greek mythology - was a refugee and found in Italy the home he had dreamt about. Famous Italian poet and philosopher Dante died in exile, not in his beloved Florence. And then there's comic book hero Superman - an alien who had to leave his home planet Krypton and who found refuge on earth. 

Stories from the present and past 

In the book, writers and illustrators talk about "parallel lives that have in common a dream, a passion, a talent and the courage of putting them at the service of others," UNHCR wrote in a statement.

The authors are Igiaba Scego, Davide Morosinotto, Helena Janeczek, Paolo Di Paolo, Francesco d'Adamo, Patrizia Rinaldi, Flora Farina, Carlo Greppi, Lilith Moscon, Alessandro Raveggi and Giuseppe Palumbo. 

They met or interviewed all contemporary refugees featured in the book. The authors connect the stories of currently displaced people to the lives and dreams of the most-well known fictional and real refugees of the past - from Dante to Conrad, from Chagall to Freddy Mercury, and from Superman to Hercules Poirot. 

The illustrations are by Fabio Santomauro, Marino Neri, Laura Scarpa, Rita Petruccioli, Giovanni Scarduelli, Fabio Visintin, Marco Brancato, Tiziana Romanin, Laura Riccioli, Mariachiara Di Giorgio, Francesco Chiacchio and Marco Paschetta. 

A book to help youths understand refugees 

The book "was conceived to enable girls and boys to form their own opinion on what it means to be a refugee, based on real stories,"  UNHCR spokeswoman for southern Europe Carlotta Sami said. "The direct and captivating language of the stories helps them understand better the experiences of people of their age, in a creative way that is devoid of prejudice and stereotypes. We hope that the book in this way will become a fundamental tool for the promotion of a culture of integration, which also indirectly involves the families and teachers of the young readers and society as a whole."

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