Simon & Schuster
October 03, 2017
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“A story of love and courage amid brutality and terror, this is the testimony of a child who has endured the unthinkable.” —J.K. RowlingBana Alabed's Dear World does what all of the news reports and articles cannot really do: it shows you what life in Syria was like before the before the war. And how the war impacted people. Not the grand, big picture idea of 'the Syrian people,' but their family, their friends, their neighborhood. It allows you to see things on a more human, individual level.
“I’m very afraid I will die tonight.” —Bana Alabed, Twitter, October 2, 2016
“Stop killing us.” —Bana Alabed, Twitter, October 6, 2016
“I just want to live without fear.” —Bana Alabed, Twitter, October 12, 2016
When seven-year-old Bana Alabed took to Twitter to describe the horrors she and her family were experiencing in war-torn Syria, her heartrending messages touched the world and gave a voice to millions of innocent children.
Bana’s happy childhood was abruptly upended by civil war when she was only three years old. Over the next four years, she knew nothing but bombing, destruction, and fear. Her harrowing ordeal culminated in a brutal siege where she, her parents, and two younger brothers were trapped in Aleppo, with little access to food, water, medicine, or other necessities.
Facing death as bombs relentlessly fell around them—one of which completely destroyed their home—Bana and her family embarked on a perilous escape to Turkey.
In Bana’s own words, and featuring short, affecting chapters by her mother, Fatemah, Dear World is not just a gripping account of a family endangered by war; it offers a uniquely intimate, child’s perspective on one of the biggest humanitarian crises in history. Bana has lost her best friend, her school, her home, and her homeland. But she has not lost her hope—for herself and for other children around the world who are victims and refugees of war and deserve better lives.
Dear World is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit, the unconquerable courage of a child, and the abiding power of hope. It is a story that will leave you changed.
Of course, many pieces of life in Syria were different than in the United States or England or France or wherever but reading how Bnaa liked to go to the pool with her father or about their family's bedtime routine shows how much was the same, too.
I really liked that while most of the story was told by Bana, there were sections from her mother, as well. Having that adult perspective on some of the same matters put some things into a different light or allowed you to really see the child's interpretation versus the parent's, the mother's.
There is something unbelievably honest about how children see the world - even those things that they should never have to see. That absolute honesty, the way that Bana's telling of what she experienced, what happened to people in Syria, what her family endured and how it isn't rephrased or muted (nor does it seem overdone or trying to shock) makes things resonate that much more. It makes it all that much harder to read and to grasp that those things could actually have happened.
This is a book you are not likely to forget. It shows us what life in Syria, for one family, was like before the bombings, before the war. And it shows us what life was like during those bombings, how, in particular, one young girls' life was impacted.
"I hope you like my book. I hope it makes you want to help people."
digital review copy received via NetGalley, from publisher