Angele Delaunois, Author
Christine Delezenne, Illustrator
Second Story Press, Fiction, 2011
Suitable for Ages: 7-10
Themes: Children, War, Disabilities, Friendship, Multicultural
Awards: IBBY International – Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities, 2010
Opening: “My name is Marwa and my best friend is Ahmad. We’ve known each other forever. He was the goalkeeper on our village soccer team. The best one we’ve ever had. But Ahmad doesn’t play ball anymore. He’s the reason I want to tell this story.”
Synopsis: Marwa and Ahmad live in a country where there is war. They continue to go to school, play soccer and don’t think very much about war because it seems far away. Then one day a planes fly over their homes and drop gray bombs. They are frightened, but after a few days they forget and begin to laugh and play again. One day Marwa and Ahmad are kicking the soccer ball in the forest and Ahmad spots a shiny yellow bottle. He picks it up to show Marwa and it explodes. Both children are seriously injured. Marwa wakes up to bandages. Ahmad has lost two limbs. Only time and a very special visitor brings hope that will give Ahmad the courage to live and walk again.
Why I like this book: This picture book is for older children. It is written in a manner that is appropriate for children. I debated about sharing this book, but then decided that is a story that needs to be shared with older children. It is a story about how war affects the physical and emotional lives of many innocent children around the world daily. Angele Delaunois, the author of over 40 books, tells this heartbreaking story through Marwa. Her words are simple and powerful. Marwa’s goal is to “honor the courage of Ahmad and all the children in the world like him.” “I hope you won’t forget them.” Christine Delezenne uses a blend of textures, drawings and collage to capture the action and emotion of the story. I recommend the book for both school and public libraries.
There is a forward in the beginning of this book from Handicap International, which was a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its fight against anti-personnel mines. “In some parts of the world children can be carefree and happy-go-lucky. In other parts of the world, mutilation and death are close by, hidden underground or in toys or in little yellow bottles. Every day, Handicap International sees the consequences for children and their families.” Handicap International works in more than 60 countries helping those who have been injured by war. They “fight for a more just and welcoming world without landmines.”
This book has been provided to me free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the work.