Title: The Day War Came
Author: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Rebecca Cobb
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Description: Imagine if, on an ordinary day, war came and turned your town to rubble. Imagine if you had to make a dangerous journey all alone, with no welcome at the end. Imagine you had lost everything and everyone, and then a child, just like you, gave you something small but very, very precious…
My Review: This is an interesting book with a great message. ‘The Day the War Came’ is around A4 in size and is a hardback book with thick matt pages inside with some lovely colourful images inside and text. This story of this book is an important one to share with children although they may not fully understand it without some help. The book begins with the little girl sitting at home with her family. We never know the girls name but she narrates the story. As the girl goes to school she does things that children normally do, learn things, sing songs and draw pictures, but while at school war comes. The story becomes sad with the war destroying her school and everything around her. She then flees, with others, to another country, but it’s not the safe and welcoming place she thought it would be.
The story is obviously of a refugee child and the terrible and devastating effects of war for all refugee children. The girl’s story continues (I’ll explain the ending here) with her being all alone and unwelcomed by everyone she sees. People ignore her on the street and when she finally spots a school where children are having the same fun she used to have, learning things, singing songs and drawing pictures, she wants to join them, but the teacher refuses to let her in the classroom because there is no chair for her. The girl goes back a refugee camp and hides away until a boy from the school enters her room and brings a chair so she can go to school. While the tale is sad and the pictures in the book reflect this, there is an uplifting ending which overall made me smile after reading this book and I felt it was a good book to read.
At the back of the book there’s an explanation of why the story was written, with the school chair incident being based on something which has really happened. There is also an explanation of how this story was first published as a poem online. The pictures in the book are all lovely and well drawn. They all look like pictures a child has drawn which makes this story all the more powerful. I like the way the pictures of the war are shown, there’s no real detail but you still get the sense of how horrible it is by the way the whole page is a mass of grey. And I like the way the emotions of the girl are shown, so happy at the beginning with sadness but then happiness again at the end. It’s the pictures that I found more powerful than the actual story.
Children will need someone to help them understand this tale, however it’s still very understandable by the pictures alone and the whole story does make sense and has that happy ending. It would make a great book to buy to approach this subject with children, especially as this is a reality in our world. The uplifting ending, with a back page showing the girl sitting happily on her chair, make this tale far less sadder than reality is, and it would make a great book to read to kids at school, to discuss this further.
I do like this book and think it’s a great way of showing kids the realities of what is happening in the world, but also giving them a good message of hope and how we can all help in the end. I’d recommend this book although it should be one that isn’t left to kids without first discussing/explaining it to them. Another great things is that the book is endorsed by Amnesty International and every book sold gives a £1 to the charity making me want to recommend it even more.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
What do you think about this book? Do you enjoy books which cover topics like this about refugees? Let me know any thoughts you have, I’d love to hear from you 🙂
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