Happy Monday, N.H. Senzai! Thank you for allowing me to reveal the extraordinary cover for Escape from Aleppo and for finishing my sentences.
N.H. Senzai: Thank you Mr. Schu, I’m thrilled to be here, sharing the “face” of my new book!
My pleasure! I’m looking forward to sharing Escape from Aleppo with children, teachers, librarians, principals, and parents. Thank you!
Escape from Aleppo’s cover illustration took my breath away! The artist, Kathrin Honesta, stunningly captured the essence of the story: the stark desolation of war torn Aleppo as fires rage, bombs fall and innocent civilians flee. And, perched above the scene, Nadia, the protagonist, stares down over the ruins of her beloved city.
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Nadia and her family are like families anywhere around the world. Like parents living in San Francisco, Beijing, Sydney or New Delhi, Nadia’s mother and father want to give their children a safe and secure place to grow up, pursue their dreams, get an education and have a family of their own. At the end of the day, all families, no matter their origin, want the same things - peace, security and chance at a hopeful future.
I hope Escape from Aleppo allows readers to walk in the shoes of a child whose life has been turned upside down by the trauma of war and the loss of everything they know and love, by becoming a refugee. Many kids have heard about the war in Aleppo, and this book allows them to further learn about the rich history of Syria, the root causes of the war, the culture and people of this amazing country. But despite all the difficulties, the book carries with it the hope that one can find security and happiness again.
Shooting Kabul, Saving Kabul Corner, and Ticket to India are all stories that take spunky protagonists and their families and put them in challenging situations. Whether its escaping the Taliban, the aftermath of 9/11, impending civil war, forced immigration, family conflict or bullying at school, these kids overcome their fears and find creative solutions for their problems.
School libraries are space ships traveling to exciting new worlds, manned by amazing librarian guides! I would not be a writer today if it had not been for Mrs. Murray and Mrs. Hackworth, my school librarians – they always knew which book would spark my curiosity and allow me to learn new things, in both fiction and non-fiction.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what makes me write about such challenging topics such as conflict and war! I truly believe that kids are capable of handling “heavy” subjects and if we present such material in a context they can understand, they will be able to digest the complexities geopolitics and empathize with the characters through their stories. My hope is to open their hearts and minds to the world around them so that they build bridges of understanding with other communities, rather than walls.
Look for Escape from Aleppo on January 2, 2018.