Two books to help us better understand these issues
We hesitate to follow the joy of family celebrations for Passover and Easter, and the first signs of true spring with a post about war and refugees. However, waking this morning and hearing news from the weekend about immigrants in the USA, and noting that Syria has really never left the news for years, we are forging ahead with reviewing books that help us all learn a bit more about refugees and war. As much as we'd love for the world to be at peace, it is not. And, we firmly believe reading great books about important topics is a great way we can all help move the needle towards peace.
So, today we review two books about refugees and war that help us look a little deeper than the NPR stories and newspaper articles on these topics. One book is a fictional account of war in an unnamed country that could be Syria. The other is a first person account by a child of living in a war zone - in her case Syria. Both are important, helpful, and we believe worth your time.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid - We LOVE this novel. It is short, gorgeously written, and covers important topics (e.g., immigration, war). Clever in every way. Two bonus aspects -- 1) it is an excellent Book Club choice; and, 2) it is now available in paperback.
Now, a brief plot summary that in no way does this book justice: two young people -- fierce Nadia and gentle Saeed -- meet as their home country teeters on the brink and then eventually succumbs to civil war. Their struggle to find and create home, spans this terrific novel about refugees, war, randomness, friendship, kindness, family, and love. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
Dear World by Bana Alabed (2018) -- I don't tweet so I missed the "real-time" story of this young Syrian. But, I am so glad I found Ms. Alabed's book about her life. Tragically, her childhood ended at age three when civil war arrived in Aleppo. As war continued, she endured bombing, destruction, and fear while trapped with her family with little to no access to food, water, or medicine. Eventually, Ms. Alabed and her family escape to Turkey. Throughout, she tweeted about her experience. These tweets and some prose from her mother comprise this moving and important first-hand account about living in war and being a refugee. Sometimes it takes a kid to bring the horrors of the headlines to life. Don't take our word for it though. JK Rowling described this book as "a story of love and courage amid brutality and terror, this is the testimony of a child who has endured the unthinkable." ~ Lisa Christie