Refugee Week 2022

Read and explore When Shadows Fall (2).png

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. For Refugee Week 2022, author Sita Brahmachari and illustrator Natalie Sirett are joining us to celebrate our community in Islington and pay tribute to this year’s theme of ‘healing’.

Get Islington Reading are inviting children in Year 8 - 11 to jump into the world of When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari and Natalie Sirett, and explore themes of love, loss, grief and how friendships can help us grow with two workshops.

Pupils can watch an exclusive video from Sita and create wish bubbles for themselves, friends, community and wider world, and reflect on the power of dreaming big and expressing yourself.

Natalie is offering children the chance to draw-a-long with her raven and bubble creations, create people from their own life and discover how art can enable you to create something unique and part of your own history. All you will need is paper and anything you use to draw.

Watch and make wish bubbles with author Sita Brahmachari!

Sita Brahmachari is an artist in residence at the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants, and joins us for a creative session to help your class reflect on who you are and your ambitions. During the session you will also discover and experience the benefits of reading and writing for your wellbeing during Refugee Week and beyond.

Through the characters Kai, Orla and Zak and their personal wish bubbles in When Shadows Fall, your class can learn about the power of journalling and telling your own story to help fly, heal or make a positive change where you live.

Sita's workshop includes special readings from When Shadows Fall, an exciting wish-making challenge, and writing prompts to guide your pupils’ creative responses. They are encouraged to create wishes for their own friends or family and local area to help feel connected to the world around them, as part of Refugee Week's celebration of community.

Watch the inspiring creative writing challenge.

The workshop was designed for teachers and Year 8 pupils upwards as the book contains mature themes of mental health crisis and references to drug use. As always please approach these issues ​sensitively to pupil age and experience.

To join in and create your own wish bubbles, download and print the wish bubble. We would love for you to share your wish bubble with us, so take a photo and send it to

About When Shadows Fall

When Shadows Fall tells a story about Kai, Orla and Zak who grow up on a patch of wilderness between their homes, a small green space in a sprawling grey city. Music, laughter and friendship bind them together and they have big plans for their future, until Kai's family suffers a huge loss.

Trying to cope with his own grief, as well as watching it tear his family apart, Kai is drawn into a new and more dangerous crowd, until his dreams for the future are a distant memory. Excluded from school and retreating from his loved ones, it seems as though his path is set, his story foretold. Orla, Zak and new classmate Om are determined to help him find his way back.

Through Kai's retelling of his childhood in his journal and making wish bubbles for himself and his family, pupils are invited to think about their own dreams and journey to hope. By exploring the characters search for a sense of belonging and the hopeful symbolism of bubbles, children can learn about the power of expressing yourself through journalling and how reading can support emotional wellbeing.

Get your copy.

When Shadows Fall draw-a-long!

Illustrator Natalie Sirett is marking Refugee Week with digital draw-along workshop based on the beautiful illustrations in When Shadows Fall. Follow along and learn how Natalie created ravens, Omid's family and used light and shade to reflect the characters experiences, before drawing your own figures or symbols with ink, water, paint, charcoal or pencil!

Watch Natalie's draw-a-long.

Read and explore Zak, Kai and Orla's hopes

These free activity sheets are designed to help pupils read and explore Kai, Orla and Zak’s wishes in When Shadows Fall and write their creative responses.

The resources below include:

  • Bubble quote cards of Kai, Orla and Zak's wishes with space to write below
  • A supporting A4 sheet of writing prompts and key themes for your class to explore
  • More activities, including: creative writing ideas focusing on your pupils interests and the special people in their lives

Download here:

Read and Explore When Shadows Fall

Bubble quote cards

Host a (wish) bubble poetry slam!

On Friday 24 June, KS2 classes are encouraged to stop what they are doing and host their own bubble poetry slam in their playground. Pupils can hold and perform their written wish bubbles, which they wrote earlier in the week, and share common themes or desires for their local area.

This is a perfect opportunity to bring your pupils' writing to life and into a spoken word performance

If you would like to get involved on social media, share photos of your class's wish bubbles and videos of their performances, and tag @Literacy_Trust with the hashtag #GetIslingtonReading on Twitter or Facebook. We would love to see and promote what you get up to, and it will help encourage other children across the country to become the storytellers of their own lives.

Send a video or photo of your fantastic creations and stories to

Additional activities

  • Make your own wish bubble scrapbook or jar: Find an empty jar or cup and decorate it with pencil, photos, stickers or magazine cut outs. Every day or once a week, write down a wish on the bubble templates and put it inside the jar to help it come true!
  • Create your own 'raven treasure box'
  • Time Together booklet: A colourful and easy-to-read guide that is full of suggestions for how parents can support their young child's learning at home. We have made this available in Ukrainian, Russian and English to help support the learning of Ukrainian families arriving in the UK
  • Refugee and Migrant stories: Teachers of children aged 5 to 12 (Key Stages 1 and 2, or P1 to P7) may find these titles especially useful when teaching empathy, supporting children's understanding of how conflict causes people to leave their homes. It may have particular relevance if your school community is welcoming new pupils impacted in this way.
  • Ukraine war support and resources: If you are a Ukrainian family, or are supporting a Ukrainian family, you can email us to receive one of our Welcome Reading Packs.
  • Refugee Week 2021: Make shadow puppets with Sita Brahmachari and Jane Ray, as part of Sita's book Swallow's Kiss
  • Read and Explore Everybody's Welcome