Guest blog by Eithne Nightingale (award winning writer, photographer and researcher)

Child Migrant Voices in Modern Britain – Oral Histories 1930s to the Present Day, was published by Bloomsbury in February 2024. It is the result of many years of research both in east London where I have lived and worked for many years but also beyond – in Norfolk, Devon and on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. Several people I interviewed were artists, musicians, poets or filmmakers, skills that I drew on to co-produce a website and films based on interviewees’ testimonies, with funds gained from Queen Mary University of London’s Public Engagement Unit. Linh Vu drew the journey by boat in which she escaped Vietnam with her father 

for the film Passing Tides

Maurice Nwokeji provided the soundtrack to Ugwumpiti, about his experience of the Biafra war as a child, short-listed for the AHRC/BAFTA 2017 Research Film of the Year

These and other films have been screened in different settings, used in political campaigning, to raise awareness and for training, for example, for people working with war-traumatised children. 

The book is organised historically, beginning with Orthodox Jewish children who came on the Kindertransport to Hackney in the 1930s and ending with children who came from Ukraine to Horsham in 2022. There are several stories of children’s experience of conflict – from war-traumatised children arriving in Mile End from Mogadishu and on a Scottish Isle from Syria. Some followed their parents to the motherland from the former British Empire – from Cyprus, Jamaica, India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. Others came independently to escape forced marriage and FGM in Guinea or military conscription in El Salvador and Eritrea.

It is child migrants’ powerful testimonies that shed light on their motivations, trials and achievements including in adult life. Such testimonies provide critical insight into how the British – both individually and collectively – have welcomed or shunned child migrants. Their stories highlight the unjust impact of the Windrush Scandal and Britain’s Illegal Migration Act 2023 but also policies and practices that could better support child migrants. I hope, therefore, that the book will attract not only students, but those working with child migrants as well as people interested in inspiring life stories.  

Alongside the publication of the book we are organising a range of public events to share experiences of child migration more widely. These are advertised on the Events Calendar of our redesigned website If you would like to work with us, to organise a book event, screen a film or share a story please email Events could include book readings, music or theatre performances by those featured in the book, award-winning films or panel discussions. Such events could be tailored to focus on your organisation’s particular interests whether this is on a geographic area, a specific audience or topic – education, creativity, child rights or policies and practices to better support child migrants, important given the forthcoming election. We may be able to customise the event for a forthcoming festival or event that you are already planning. This could be during Refugee Week or, indeed, at other times – we are already scheduled to hold an event in Glasgow and on the Isle of Bute, with the involvement of the Syrian community during Refugee Week 2024. Alternatively, you are welcome to use the films on the website, or the learning resources for school students or adult ESOL students, independently.

The book can be purchased on
Use Code GLR AQ7 for a 20% reduction from Bloomsbury or order from your local bookshop 

To organise an event or for any other information email

Image Credits:
Image 1: Front cover of the book Child Migrant Voices in Modern Britain Children on route to William Patten Primary School in Hackney, 1976 – 1977.Copyright Neil Martinson
Image 2: Linh, aged seven, with her father, Thanh Vu, in a refugee camp in Sopley, Hampshire, circa 1980
Courtesy of Linh Vu (jpg)
Image 3: Maurice performing songs featured in Ugwumpiti at the Being Human launch festival, Senate House, University of London, 2016, Courtesy of Maurice Nwokeji and Advanced School of Study, University of London. Copyright© Lloyd Sturdy
Image 4: Henry with his many guitars in London, circa 1984, having escaped military conscription in El Salvador. Courtesy of Alicia Mc Keown, daughter of Henry Bran.