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“The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them. A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity.
—Kirkus Reviews

2021 Winner of a Caldecott Honor

Winner of the 2020 Middle East Book Award

The Cat Man of Aleppo

Written by Karim Shamsi-Basha and Irene Latham
Illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
Published by Penguin Young Readers Group

The courageous and true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who in the midst of the Syrian Civil War offered safe haven to Aleppo’s abandoned cats.

Aleppo’s city center no longer echoes with the rich, exciting sounds of copper-pot pounding and traditional sword sharpening. His neighborhood is empty—except for the many cats left behind.

Alaa loves Aleppo, but when war comes his neighbors flee to safety, leaving their many pets behind. Alaa decides to stay—he can make a difference by driving an ambulance, carrying the sick and wounded to safety. One day he hears hungry cats calling out to him on his way home. They are lonely and scared, just like him. He feeds and pets them to let them know they are loved. The next day more cats come, and then even more! There are too many for Alaa to take care of on his own. Alaa has a big heart, but he will need help from others if he wants to keep all of his new friends safe.

Look for the Spanish version, El hombre de los gatos (The Cat Man of Aleppo).

Primary ISBN: 9781984813787
Available As: Hardcover
Picture Book, Nonfiction, Age 05 and older

Community Represented:

Themes: , , , , ,

Setting: Syria (Aleppo)

Character's Place in the Immigration Journey: In Home Country

Book Creator(s) Connection to the Community Represented: Own Voices/Lived Experience

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