Karl Schembri’s ‘Miskit’ helps young refugees cope with trauma and distress

Norwegian Refugee Council launches children’s book by Karl Schembri to help young raefugees cope with trauma and distress

Karl Schembri with a group of children in Jordan, where Miskit was launched
Karl Schembri with a group of children in Jordan, where Miskit was launched

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has launched The Journey of Miskit, the Brave Stoat, an illustrated children’s book that is being used to help displaced children deal with trauma and distress across the world.

Written by Karl Schembri and illustrated by Ana-Maria Cosma, the book is already being used in Sudan, where children have fled from untold atrocities, and is already translated into several languages that NRC works with.

The main character, Miskit, is a young stoat who gets lost in the woods and forges an unlikely friendship with a fox, a snail, and some lost humans, setting off on a journey of self-discovery and bravery that teaches her to find meaning in life’s challenges and fears. The main character was chosen by Syrian refugee children in Jordan who voted on their favourite animal characters in an international competition for artists, won by Cosma, the book’s illustrator.

“This inspiring and heartwarming story aims to promote understanding and hope for displaced children who have experienced high level of stress and traumatic events, whilst also serving as a valuable tool for educators and caregivers worldwide to engage children in important discussions about empathy, resilience, and mental health,” said Camilla Lodi, the head of NRC’s Better Learning Programme which will integrate the book into its programmes with children.

The book can be bought on Amazon in English, Spanish and Norwegian, and all the proceeds will go to print more books for displaced children around the world.

“Knowing that children I’ve met through my work with NRC will find a friend to walk with them through their moments of loss and loneliness is what really motivated me to write this story,” said author Karl Schembri, who has been working as a media adviser with NRC in the Middle East and East Africa for the last eight years.

“But I also hope to engage children around the world and get them to think of the values of empathy and solidarity, to put themselves in other children’s shoes and figure out the challenges and the hardship that comes with displacement.”