Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young: Interview

Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young: Interview

In 2016, the book Who are Refugees and Migrants? What Makes People Leave Their Homes? And Other Big Questions was published. Written by children’s authors Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young, it also features contributions from others with experiences of immigration like comedian Omid Djalili and poet Benjamin Zephaniah.

Recently, Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young recorded the audiobook in the Listening Books studios. Whilst there, we chatted to them about the ideas behind the book, reading aloud, and their own history of migration.


Annemarie Young on Why The Book is Important:

‘I think it’s really important to start talking about these issues with children’.


Michael Rosen on The Creation of the Book:

‘We’d done a book on Humanism, and we were talking about what else we could write about’.


Michael Rosen on His Family History:

‘I’ve only really discovered what happened to some of my relatives recently’.


Annemarie Young on Being a Migrant:

‘I really wanted to get across what it does feel like to be different’.


Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young on Reading to Audiences:

‘Face-to-face communication is an extremely powerful thing. It’s actually about belief and truth.’


Michael Rosen on The Art of Performing:

‘So I shamble on to a stage and pretend that I’m just chatting, but it’s a complete disguise!’


Annemarie Young on What Influenced Her to Become a Writer:

‘We spoke French at home and my mother used to tell me stories in French’.


Michael Rosen on Writing for Children:

‘You imagine that child reading that and think ‘well, would they be able to get that?”


Michael Rosen on What Influenced Him to Become a Writer:

‘There was a moment. It was when I read ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by James Joyce.’


Imagine you are faced with this situation: soldiers who have threatened to kill your mother or your father are coming to get them. Your family has only one hour to decide what to do. What would you do? Listen to a clip about this from the audiobook:

If you want to listen to ‘Who are Refugees and Migrants’ the audiobook is available right now! Listening Books members can download and stream it now!

Thank you very much to Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young for speaking to us!

Interested in this audiobook and want to become a Listening Books member? Find out more about us on our website.

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy Why Children’s Books That Teach Diversity Are More Important Than Ever or the Listening Books Interview with Benjamin Zephaniah.


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