Tag Archives: War

Nour’s Secret Library

Nour

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

Just A Girl: A True Story Of World War II

JustAGirlThis powerful autobiographical story of a Jewish family in Italy during World War II is narrated by six-year-old Lia. She and her family attempt to avoid Nazi deportation, and she ends up in a Catholic convent because it is too dangerous for the family to stay together. Lia’s descriptions of her different schools, new friends, and war conditions are sensitive and perceptive. Horrific details are left out. The book includes inserts, side notes, and letters that speak directly to the reader. Cute black-and-white illustrations enhance Lia’s memories of her survival. Back matter includes a letter from the author and images from Lia Levi’s photo album. The story is a young readers’ adaptation of the author’s award-winning WWII memoir. mjw
Title: Just A Girl: A True Story Of World War II
Author: Lia Levi
Illustrator
: Jess Mason
Publisher
: Harper Collins Publishers, LLC.
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: Italian
Translator
: Sylvia Adrian Notini
Original Title
: Una bambina e basta
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-0-06-306508-6
Hardcover pages
: 144
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Historical biography, Novel, Autobiography
Book setting
: Italy
Author’s ethnicity
: Italian
Author’s residence
: Rome, Italy
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: English
Illustrator’s residence
: England
Awards
: 2023 Batchelder Winner
Subjects
: Boarding schools, Convents, Discrimination, Holocaust, Italy, Jewish, Memoirs, Survival, WWII

Different: A Story Of The Spanish Civil War

DifferentSiblings, seven-year-old Socorro and nine-year-old Paco tell their story of Spain during the turbulent Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Fascist dictator Francisco Franco persecuted everyone who opposed him, and consequently, the children’s father had to flee Spain because of his political beliefs. The children and their mother remain in Spain and have to keep their secret. A letter arrives from their father in Venezuela that results in the family being reunited in Caracas, where they are still different but safe. Oil-pastel illustrations portray the worlds of the family. Based on the author’s family history, this middle-grade novel is supplemented with more information about Spain and the war, wartime refugees, a new life beyond Spain, and the lives of refugees today. A glossary of Spanish words and resources for children, young adults, and older readers are also included. mjw
Title: Different: A Story Of The Spanish Civil War
Author: Monica Montanes
Illustrator
: Evan Sanchez Gomez
Publisher
: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: Spanish
Translator
: Lawrence Schimel
Original Title
: Los distintos
Original Publisher
: Ediciones Ekare. Barcelona, Spain
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5598-5
Hardcover pages
: 88
Age range
: 9-14
Genre
: Historical fiction
Book setting
: Spain, Venezuela
Author’s ethnicity
: Venezuelan
Author’s residence
: Madrid
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Spanish
Illustrator’s residence
: Spain
Awards
: 2021 White Raven, 2023 Batchelder Award
Subjects
: Brothers and sisters, Caribbean and Latin America, Emigration and immigration, Military and wars, Refugees, Spain Civil War 1936-1939, Survival, Venezuela

Girl On The Run

Girl on the runIt’s 1933 in Berlin, and thirteen-year-old Amelie is beginning to feel the effects of Hitler’s rise to power. At school, she is picked on by her teacher for being Jewish, and her friends snub her for not joining the Aryan Youth Group. Her father remarries, and her new cruel stepmother plans to expose Amelie’s Jewish heritage to the Nazis. Amelie is a strong heroine who is also bright, courageous, and quick thinking. The novel is a real page-turner. A sequel, The Doktor’s Daughter (2022), brings Amelie back to Berlin after four years in Paris when questions arise about her father. This is another engaging read.  mjw
Title: Girl On The Run
Author: Nancy McDonald
Publisher
: Iguana Books. Toronto
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-77180-517-9
Paperback pages
: 174
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Historical fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Berlin, Paris
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Stratford, Ontario
Subjects
: Coming of age, Germany, Holocaust, Jewish persecution, Nazis, Stepmothers, World War II

Lands Of Belonging: A History of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Britain

Lands of BelongingPublished for the 75th anniversary of the Partition of India, this engaging book is an exploration of the history, achievements, and culture of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Britain. “This book aims to piece together how South Asian and British history are connected. You might find it interesting, surprising, and sometimes very sad – but for the people of South Asia, and for South Asians in Britain, the future is full of hope and excitement.” The book not only provides historical details but it also spotlights Indian cuisine, traditions, festivals, dances, sports, famous people, language, and more. Included are a table of contents, a calendar of celebrations, a timeline of events, a glossary, and an index. Glorious artwork brings each page to life in this beautiful information book. mjw
Title: Lands Of Belonging: A History Of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Britain
Author: Donna and Vikesh Amey Bhatt
Illustrator
: Salini Perera
Publisher
: Nosy Crow, London
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-83994-468-0
Hardcover pages
: 64
Age range
: 7-12
Genre
: Nonfiction, Information Book
Book setting
: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Britain
Author’s ethnicity
: East African (Vikesh)
Author’s residence
: London
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Born in Sri Lanka
Illustrator’s residence
: Toronto
Subjects
: Ancient empires, East India Company, Festivals, Food, Games, Holidays, Independence, Partition, World War I, World War II

My Name Is Bana

my name is bana

Seven-year-old Bana, a Syrian girl from Aleppo, took to Twitter to describe her war-torn home. In this picture book memoir, she offers her perspective on the war and being a refugee. She explains the origin of her name. Bana is a tall bushy tree that grows in Syria. Her father and mother wanted her to be strong just like the tree – being kind to others, standing up against injustice, and being brave in the face of fear. She also shows her strength by bringing joy to her brothers amidst bombings, starting over in a new country, and speaking to world leaders on behalf of Syrian refugee children. The illustrations rendered in acrylic paint and finished in procreate are emotional and bright. Arabic words are smoothly integrated into the text. An author’s note tells that the book is based on a true story. mjw

Title: My Name Is Bana
Author: Bana Alabed
Illustrator
: Nez Riaz
Publisher
: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1534412484
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture book, Autobiography
Book setting
: Syria and Turkey
Author’s ethnicity
: Syrian
Author’s residence
: Turkey
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Pakistani
Illustrator’s residence
: Boston, MA
Awards
: 2022 NCSS Notable Books
Subjects
: Autobiography, Biography, Children’s writings, Human rights, Refugee children, Syria – Civil War, Trees

The Library Bus

The Library Bus

Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during the civil war and Taliban regime of 1996-2001. His story was inspired by the first library bus in Kabul that brought books to girls in remote villages and refugee camps who had no other access to education. Five-year-old Pari is starting her first day as her mother’s helper on the library bus. The girls in the villages and camps are learning English, but Pari cannot even read or write in Farsi yet. She is lucky that she will attend school next year. Her mother had to learn in secret because not long ago, girls were forbidden to read. The captivating watercolor and digital media artwork portrays the girls’ smiling faces, the rich landscape of Afghanistan, and the power of education. Included are notes about refugee camps and the author’s experiences in Kabul. mjw

Title: The Library Bus
Author: Bahram Rahman
Illustrator
: Gabrielle Grimard
Publisher
: Pajama Press. Toronto
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-77278-101-4
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture book
Book setting
: Kabul, Afghanistan
Author’s ethnicity
: born in Kabul, Afghanistan
Author’s residence
: Ontario, Canada
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: born in Montreal
Illustrator’s residence
: Canada
Awards
: 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award, 2021 Middle East Book Award Winner, 2021 Sout Asian Book Award – Highly recommended book
Subjects
: Books, Education, Libraries, Homelessness, Middle East, Poverty, Reading, Refugees

Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue

Bandoola

The colored pencil drawings are stunningly beautiful in this incredible true story about war veteran James Howard Williams; Bandoola, a working elephant; and Po Toke, the elephant’s keeper. They work together on a teak plantation in Myanmar (Burma), a country in Southeast Asia that was a colony of the British Empire. When World War II forces them to evacuate their home in the jungle, they lead a group of over 200 refugees and over 50 elephants across mountainous terrain to safety in Assam, India. A table of contents, a map, a wonderfully illustrated glossary, suggestions for further reading, and an author’s note add to this highly educational masterpiece. mjw

Title: Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue
Author: William Grill
Illustrator
: William Grill
Publisher
: Flying Eye Books, an imprint of Nobrow Ltd. London
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-83874-123-8
Hardcover pages
: 88
Age range
: 8-14
Genre
: Picture Book, Information Book, Nonfiction
Book setting
: Myanmar and India
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: London
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: English
Illustrator’s residence
: London
Awards
: Author /Illustrator has won the 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal
Subjects
: Asian history, Burma, Deforestation, Elephants, Green living, Jungle, Logging industry, Monsoons, Mountains, Rainforests, Timber, Timber elephants, World War II

Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)

Last witnesses

A very helpful Historical Context sets the scene for 65 short personal narratives told by those who were Russian children during World War II and survived terrifying war-time experiences. Nobel Prize-winning Svetlana Alexievich discloses the traumatic memories of children who were separated from their parents, most of them never to be reunited. This is the young adult adaptation of her masterpiece, Last Witness: An Oral History of the Children of WWII. The Russian perspective stories are fascinating as they portray terror, survival, and hope. The book also features a useful glossary. mjw

Title: Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)
Author: Svetlana Alexievich
Publisher
: Penguin Random House LLC
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Russian
Translator
: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Original Title
: Last Witnesses: An Oral History Of The Children Of WWII
Original Publisher
: Molodaya Gvardiya, Moscow
Original Copyright
: 1985
ISBN
: 978-0-593-30853-0
Hardcover pages
: 288
Age range
: 12-17
Genre
: Information book, Nonfiction, Oral history
Book setting
: Russia
Author’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Author’s residence
: Soviet Union, Belarus, Western Europe
Awards
: Author has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature. 2022 NCSS Notable Books
Subjects
: Childhood, Death, Historical biographies, Hope, Military history, Oral history, Resilience, Survival, Terror, WWII, Young adult

How War Changed Rondo

How War Chaged Rondo

The Ukrainian husband and wife, author/ illustrator team created this book as a response to their experiences of war in Ukraine. The story is set in the fictional town of Rondo, which is known for its greenhouses of musical flowers. Everyone who lives there speaks to birds and plants, paints pictures, sings, and writes poetry. Rondo is perfect. The three protagonists are Danko who glows like a lantern and has a shining heart, Fabian who resembles a dog-shaped balloon animal, and Zirka who has a bird-like origami body folded from maps and newspaper articles about war. War comes to Rondo bringing its darkness and destruction. Together, the three friends rally their town to devise a plan using light, community, and song to halt war and restore peace. The stunning mixed-media illustrations undergo dramatic shifts in color when war enters and then finally leaves Rondo. mjw

Title: How War Changed Rondo
Author/Illustrator: Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv
Publisher
: Enchanted Lion Books. New York
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Ukrainian
Translator
: Oksana Lushchevska
Original Publisher
: Vydavnytstvo Starohoo Leva (The Old Lion Publishing House) Lviv, Ukraine
Original Copyright
: 2015
ISBN
: 978-1-59270-367-8
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Author’s residence
: Ukraine
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Illustrator’s residence
: Ukraine
Awards
: 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Book
Subjects
: Death, Flowers, Nature, Peace, Music, Violence, War

Red Stars: The Case Of Viktor And Nadya’s Notebooks

Red Stars- The Case...

Diary entries, maps, drawings, and historical photos tell this story of Viktor and Nadya, twelve-year-old twins who were evacuated from Leningrad when Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union. They were separated when they were put on trains that were meant to take them to safety. The story is told in three voices, alternating between Viktor (printed in red), Nadya (printed in dark blue), and an offstage voice of a Soviet Secret Police officer. His handwritten comments are written in the margins. Viktor’s train makes it to Moscow, where he is expected to do hard labor on a kolkhoz (farm). It is rumored that Nadya’s train was bombed with no survivors. Viktor doesn’t believe this and sets off through cold and harsh conditions to find Nadya. They eventually find each other and unravel a mystery of treason and betrayal at the highest level of Soviet leadership. mjw

Title: Red Stars: The Case Of Viktor And Nadya’s Notebooks
Author: Davide Morosinotto
Illustrator
: Simone Tso
Publisher
: Delacorte Press
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: Italian
Translator
: Denise Muir
Original Title
:  La Stolgorante luce di due stelle rosse
Original Publisher
: Mondadori, Milan
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-1-9848-9332-1
Hardcover pages
: 432
Age range
: 10-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Soviet Union
Author’s ethnicity
: Italian
Author’s residence
: Italy
Subjects
: European historical fiction, Evacuation, Germany, Hitler, Leningrad, MIlitary fictioon, Siblings, Trains, World War II

Soul Lanterns

Soul Lanterns

Set 25 years after the bombing of Hiroshima, twelve-year-old Nozomi discovers that the long-term emotional and physical effects of the bombing continue. Her art class project is to learn more about the experiences of students’ families on August 6, 1945. Book chapters focus on individual heartbreaking narratives told by survivors. This powerful story from a Japanese perspective shows the impact on the city and emphasizes the message of peace. mjw

Title: Soul Lanterns
Author: Shaw Huzki
Publisher
: Delacorte Press
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Japanese
Translator
: Emily Balistrieri
Original Title
: Hikari no utsushie Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Hiroshima
Original Publisher
: Kodansha, Ltd. Tokyo
Original Copyright
: 2013
ISBN
: 978-0-593-17436-4
Hardcover pages
: 175
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Japan
Author’s ethnicity
: Japanese
Author’s residence
: Kamakura, Japan
Awards: 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Art, Atomic bomb, Ceremonies, Grandparents, Hiroshima, Lantern floating ceremony, Peace, World War II