Resource Archive

posted on 18 Jan 2023


The Social Construction of Childhood: explored with reference to ‘Refugee Boy’ by Benjamin Zephaniah: an essay by Rebecca Jeffers


The Letterpress Project is always delighted to publish the work of students who have written about or used books as a key part of their assignments. Here we showcase an essay from Newman University student, Rebecca Jeffers. Rebecca told us:

"I chose 'Refugee Boy' having experienced a demographic change within the cohort of children attending my setting. It is important to note, it is still a predominantly white school, in a predominantly white area.  Within a pastoral role I have supported refugee children to the best of my ability, with many children and families not being able to speak English but expected to conform to English educational institutes. On top of the most prominent barriers and difficulties they experienced in school, we had reports from local members of the community where they were being racially attacked. This married up with what was been broadcasted in the media about the number of immigrants trying to get to Britain. It was all negative. In particular there was a young boy from Eritrea like in the story who attended my setting. Many teachers spoke about his behaviour as being defiant, disruptive etc but I never once heard, anyone of them think about what he may have experienced or is experiencing in a new country, where they speak a different language and the expected to just 'fit in'. The child once said to me "You see Camel's outside of my classroom at home." Furthermore, at the time of choosing the book, Russia had just invaded Ukraine. The media reported refugees in a different light so I was intrigued to read and explore a story written by a black male in the role of a black refugee boy."

You can read the full essay by clicking on the link below: