“…an accessible way of approaching a huge and difficult topic, this book should be required reading for adults who care about children living in any conflict-influenced situation, from Israel to violent neighborhoods in the United States.”—Francisca Goldsmith, VOYA
Deborah Ellis’s enormously popular “Breadwinner” trilogy recounted the experiences of children living in Afghanistan; now Ellis turns her attention to the young people of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After visiting the region to conduct interviews, she presents their stories here — in their own words. Twelve-year-old Nora, eleven-year-old Mohammad, and many others speak directly about their lives — which prove to be both ordinary and extraordinary: They argue with their siblings. They hate spinach. They have wishes for the future. Yet they have also seen their homes destroyed and families killed, and live amidst constant upheaval and violence.
This simple, telling book allows young readers everywhere to see that the children caught in this conflict are just like them — but living far more difficult and dangerous lives. Without taking sides, it presents an unblinking portrait of children victimized by the endless struggle around them.
Reviews & Accolades
“Ellis effectively remains absent, serving as chronicler for these ordinary kids in traumatic circumstances who are tinged by varying degrees of anger and despair…An excellent presentation of a confusing historic struggle, told within a palpable, perceptive and empathetic format.” —Alison Follos, School Library Journal
“There is a wealth of very personal, readable material that will generate thought-provoking discussion and even allow readers to debate each other by taking on the persona of the young people in the book.” —Karen Leggett, Children’s Literature
“This book combines her abilities to reach young readers by providing youthful perspectives and through revealing personal observations elicited from Middle Eastern interviewees…these young people demonstrate the complexity of the issues that stem from international as well as local events that date back generations. Ellis allows the youth to speak directly to the reader, rather than giving them an editorialized voice or rigid position in any theoretical spectrum…an accessible way of approaching a huge and difficult topic, this book should be required reading for adults who care about children living in any conflict-influenced situation, from Israel to violent neighborhoods in the United States.“—Francisca Goldsmith, VOYA
Survival, family relationships, Palestinian-Israeli conflict, multinational relationships, family death, trauma
Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees
Since my involvement with Afghanistan, which began when news of the crimes of the Taliban hit the Toronto newspapers back in 1996, I have been trying to understand what war does to people. What the decisions made by people living in safety do to the daily lives of people whose opinions about the matter are not heard.
I’ve seen the way bombs and bullets shatter human bodies and devastate families. I’ve learned what happens when the destruction of infrastructure leads to bad water, food shortages and the lack of medical care. And I’ve heard from refugees about how their lives have been derailed and reduced to Waiting — for food, for shelter, for documents, for peace.
Through all the tales of crime and chaos, there has been one consistent champion — the educators. Teachers, whether professionally trained or picking it up as they go along, who carve out little niches of safety and childhood for the kids in need. Librarians who remind us that human beings are capable of creating things noble and sublime (is there anything more beautiful than a line of books on a shelf?). And others who, through music, art, sport or community building, lift us all up.
Books can help us remember what we have in common as humans.
And that’s what I try to do with mine.
READ more about Deborah Ellis’ work in Afghanistan and her books at her website
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