Readingstart

Talking about War: Fatima Sharafeddine’s “There is War in My City”

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

We’ve been thinking long and hard about this post, and we finally decided to write it and open up the room for discussion. As the Arab world reels from almost daily violence, we started to wonder how parents discuss the difficult subject of war with their children. How do they answer questions, start a conversation and yet try to maintain a child’s sense of innocence? As a parent, would you read a children’s book about war with your kids? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this subject, and at the same time, we’d like to start the conversation with an introduction to a very well written children’s book that deals with just this topic.

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“There is War in My City” (في مدينتي حرب), written by Fatima Sharafeddine and Illustrated by Thomas Broome, was published in 2006 when indeed there was a war in the author’s hometown of Beirut. The book is intended for children age 4 to 8, and handles the topic in an eye opening yet empowering way. Written from a child’s perspective, It opens up as follows:

أحب مدينتي كثيرا.
فيها بيتي.
فيها أبي و أمي و أخي الصغير و أجدادي.
فيها مدرستي و رفاقي.

و لكن في مدينتي حرب.

 It goes on to describe the day to day reality of living with war: power cuts, hiding away in basements and being able to return  to school when things are calmer. The book ends on a hopeful note with the main character, a young boy, imagining himself becoming a teacher and teaching other children not to be afraid.

If you do consider reading the book with your children, we recommend you read the review on Read Kutub Kids as it provides an account of a parent’s experience reading the book with her son. You can read the review HERE. We’d also love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so do leave us a note in the comments.

  1. All what’s happening around us is sad and heartbreaking… Our children should know and understand what other children r passing through… Yet the media is too harsh…
    I’m sure a book about war written from a child’s perspective will be the best way to explain it all.

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