The White Zone

White Zone145003966The White  Zone

Carolyn Marsden, author

CarolRhoda Books, Fiction,  January 2012

Suitable for:  Ages 10-14

Themes:  Iraqi War, Inner War, Families torn apart, Miracle

Carolyn Marsden takes us to Baghdad, after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2008.   Iraq is no longer at war with America.  But the Iraqi people are raging an inner war of their own between the Sunnis and Shiites.   She shows us this war through the lives of two young cousins, Nouri and Talib, who barely remember a time when there weren’t tanks and gunfire.   Nouri is Shiite and Talib is half Sunni and Shiite.   The conflict between the two sects is tearing their country and their family a part.  After Nouri’s uncle is killed in a bombing by the Sunnis, he begins to see Talib differently.   Even though Nouri and Talib were close, Nouri turns on his cousin in a hateful way and his actions divide the family.  Talib’s family leave their home and extended family for safety near Mutanabbi Street, where both Sunnis and Shiites get along for a while.   But, even roadside bombers attack Mutanabbi Street.  Only a miracle can mend the conflict between the cousins.  That miracle arrived in the form of snow — the only snow that ever fell in Baghdad in living memory.  For one day, people raised their eyes to the sky and fighting ceased.  There were no red or green zones, only a white zone.

Why I Like This Book:  Carolyn Marsden tells a memorable and compelling story that teaches young readers about different cultures and war through the eyes of two young boys.  Nouri and Talib are casualties of war.  Although conflict erupts between the cousins, Marsden delicately shows their inner struggle with fear, grief, hate, and confusion.  The cousins have to figure out their relationship on their own.  It is their  love of family and faith which influences their choices.  This is a powerful novel with the right balance of tension.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

21 thoughts on “The White Zone

    • Glad you liked the review Michelle. I couldn’t put the book down. It was a different perspective on a difficul situation. This story focuses on the inner war that occured between two cousins and how they worked through it on their own.

    • Thanks Joanna. They are tragic victims and that’s why I wanted to share this book. We don’t hear enough about the impact on the children and families. And, a good story like this is an eye-opener.

  1. It’s great to see stories like this and know that they will be read a long time from now so that others can know what happened and it sounds beautiful with the snow, Pat.

    • Cathy, I am glad that you will share it with her. I think it is important for kids to understand the what war does to the innocent. The authoris to be commended for taking on such a challenging subject.

  2. Seems like you have another good pick for adults and kids alike. I love your picks that teach tolerance to us in the gentle ways of children. Through pain and fear they seem to be our best teachers.
    Thanks as always for sharing the best books. 🙂

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