On My Bookshelf: Escape From Aleppo by N. H. Senzai

February 05, 2018

In Escape From Aleppo by N. H. Senzai, Nadia must navigate through her war torn city in an attempt to reunite with her family. As bombs fall and shots are fired around her, she is filled with fear and the pain in her leg from a previous incident in the war in which she was struck by shrapnel. She, who has rarely left the house since her injury, must now rely on the kindness of complete strangers and think quickly in life or death situations. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Nadia’s family is forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria, when the Arab Spring sparks a civil war in this timely coming-of-age novel from award-winning author N.H. Senzai.

Silver and gold balloons. A birthday cake covered in pink roses. A new dress.

Nadia stands at the center of attention in her parents’ elegant dining room. This is the best day of my life, she thinks. Everyone is about to sing “Happy Birthday,” when her uncle calls from the living room, “Baba, brothers, you need to see this.” Reluctantly, she follows her family into the other room. On TV, a reporter stands near an overturned vegetable cart on a dusty street. Beside it is a mound of smoldering ashes. The reporter explains that a vegetable vendor in the city of Tunis burned himself alive, protesting corrupt government officials who have been harassing his business. Nadia frowns.

It is December 17, 2010: Nadia’s twelfth birthday and the beginning of the Arab Spring. Soon anti-government protests erupt across the Middle East and, one by one, countries are thrown into turmoil. As civil war flares in Syria and bombs fall across Nadia’s home city of Aleppo, her family decides to flee to safety. Inspired by current events, this novel sheds light on the complicated situation in Syria that has led to an international refugee crisis, and tells the story of one girl’s journey to safety.
In Escape From Aleppo by N. H. Senzai, Nadia must navigate through her war torn city in an attempt to reunite with her family. As bombs fall and shots are fired around her, she is filled with fear and the pain in her leg from a previous incident in the war in which she was struck by shrapnel. She, who has rarely left the house since her injury, must now rely on the kindness of complete strangers and think quickly in life or death situations. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.


Why I liked it: In Escape From AleppoNadia must navigate through her war torn city in an attempt to reunite with her family. As bombs fall and shots are fired around her, she is filled with fear and the pain in her leg from a previous incident in the war in which she was struck by shrapnel. She, who has rarely left the house since her injury, must now rely on the kindness of complete strangers and think quickly in life or death situations. 

Escape From Aleppo is the second book I've read by N. H. Senzai. The first was Shooting Kabul which focused on a young man and his family who leave Afghanistan just before September 11. Escape From Aleppo focuses on an even more current event, but what I appreciate most about both narratives is that it makes far off issues much more relatable for young people in telling about the events through the eyes of young people. In both books, I was struck by the courage the protagonists exhibit in situations most of us couldn't even begin to imagine ourselves in.

Classroom application: This novel would be appropriate for middle school and high school students. Despite being set in the midst of war, direct description of death and violence is minimal. The title would be a great add to help diversify your classroom library and could be used in literature circles focused on war or global issues.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Escape From Aleppo for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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