A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Escape from Aleppo, by acclaimed author N.H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul) is the story of 14-year-old Nadia, who in 2013 flees her home in war-torn Syria and heads for Turkey, only to be separated from the others when a bomb explodes. Injured and forced to make her way alone, she connects with various children and adults trying to get to safety and deal with a world in which, in one character's words, "Thugs, our country has been overrun by ruthless thugs. From all sides." Danger, death, and destruction are everywhere, but so are courage, kindness, and love. There's a wealth of ancient and modern-day Middle Eastern culture, a crash course on the current troubles in Syria and the long history behind them, and a lot of political discussion by adult characters, which will delight some readers and bore others.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After enduring years of gunfire, bombardment, death squads, and more, 14-year-old Nadia's once-prosperous Syrian family makes its ESCAPE FROM ALEPPO. But just as they're leaving, a bomb explodes, separating them and leaving Nadia injured and alone. As she struggles to avoid danger, get to Turkey, and find her family, she joins Basel, a younger boy, and Mazen, an old bookseller with a cart and a faithful donkey. Making their perilous way out of deserted, bombed-out Aleppo, they meet many scary characters, but also many others trying to do something positive and save what they can of Syria's ancient culture. Flashbacks tell how the country's conflicts began, and how it affected the lives of regular people caught between warring forces.
Is it any good?
N.H. Senzai's tale of a teen fleeing Syria in 2013 offers plenty of heart, courage, and poignant moments conveying what it's like to have your life completely destroyed by forces beyond your control. Some readers will be fascinated by the wealth of history, culture, and in-depth discussion of how the Arab Spring unfolded across the Middle East, while others may be a bit overwhelmed. With an appealing heroine (and her cat) and a lot of positive messages about family, courage, and kindness, Escape from Aleppo is a good bet for kids who like current events and multicultural stories -- and also fans of dystopian stories, with its setting to rival postapocalyptic landscapes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Escape from Aleppo helps you understand the conflict in Syria and how events there affect real people. Does reading stories like this change how you see events on the news?
Do you recognize any of the historic characters and stories described here with their Arabic names that you may know better by their Westernized ones?
If your family had to flee your home and go to a different place, how would you feel? What would you take with you?
- Author: N. H. Senzai
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
- Publication date: January 2, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.