Nour’s Secret Library


Nour and her friends live a happy life in Damascus, Syria. But one day war comes to the city with its smelly tanks and noisy guns. Nour, her family, and friends need to hide in the basement to be safe. Some days when there is no fighting, Nour and her friends bravely roam their neighborhood rubble looking for abandoned books so that they can start a secret library. Eventually, their library is filled with books from floor to ceiling. Some are Arabic, while others are English, Armenian, Greek, French, Hebrew, and Syriac. Nour thinks that the world of books is wonderful. “Like a galaxy full of stars. Some are shinier than others, but together they make the sky sparkle.”The illustrations in pencil, gouache, and charcoal depict the rough and ruined landscapes in grays and the hopeful story of the children and the library in vibrant blues and oranges. Back matter includes information about Syria, a map, a glossary, facts about famous libraries in the Middle East, information about the inspiration for the story, and both an author’s and illustrator’s note. This book is a story of hope and longing for peace. mjw

Title: Nour’s Secret Library
Author: Wafa Tarnowska
: Yali Mintzi
: Barefoot Books
: 2022
Original Language
: English
: 978-1-64686-292-4
Paperback pages
: 32
Age range
: 6-10
: Picture book
Book setting
: Syria
Author’s ethnicity
: Lebanese
Author’s residence
: U.K. and Poland
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Romanian
Illustrator’s residence
: Jerusalem
: Books, Libraries, Middle East, Reading, Syria, War

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