The Cat Man Of Aleppo

The courageous and true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who in the midst of the Syrian Civil War offered safe haven to Aleppo’s abandoned cats. Aleppo’s city center no longer echoes with the rich, exciting sounds of copper-pot pounding and traditional sword sharpening. His neighborhood is empty–except for the many cats left behind. Alaa loves Aleppo, but when war comes his neighbors flee to safety, leaving their many pets behind. Alaa decides to stay–he can make a difference by driving an ambulance, carrying the sick and wounded to safety. One day he hears hungry cats calling out to him on his way home. They are lonely and scared, just like him. He feeds and pets them to let them know they are loved. The next day more cats come, and then even more! There are too many for Alaa to take care of on his own. Alaa has a big heart, but he will need help from others if he wants to keep all of his new friends safe.

Story Boat

Baby blue background with illustration of refugee children in boatWhen a little girl and her younger brother are forced along with their family to flee the home they’ve always known, they must learn to make a new home for themselves — wherever they are. And sometimes the smallest things — a cup, a blanket, a lamp, a flower, a story — can become a port of hope in a terrible storm. As the refugees travel onward toward an uncertain future, they are buoyed up by their hopes, dreams and the stories they tell — a story that will carry them perpetually forward.

This timely, sensitively told story, written by multiple award–winner Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Sendak Fellowship recipient Rashin Kheiriyeh, introduces very young readers in a gentle, non-frightening and ultimately hopeful way to the current refugee crisis.

The Phoenix of Persia

Retold for a modern audience, the story of The Phoenix of Persia is one of the ancient epic stories of Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) by the 10th century poet Ferdowsi, reminiscent of the classic fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In this ancient Persian, a king awaits the birth of his son but when the child is born with white hair and skin, he is banished to the forest. The young babe is brought up by the phoenix Simorgh until his father realizes the love he has lost and seeks his return. A QR code is included to download Iranian music to accompany the text.

The Parrot And The Merchant

Mah Jahan is a rich merchant who travels far and wide to trade her goods, and keeps countless colorful birds in cages. When leaving for India, she promises to bring back gifts for all her servants, and for her favorite talking parrot. All that the parrot requests is for her to go to the jungle, greet his friends and ask if they have any messages for him. But when she delivers their message, she learns an important lesson about how to treat the ones you love.

The Mermaid In The Bathtub (Yonder)

One day, a resolutely ordinary young man named Mr. Whatwilltheysay returns home to find Grain-of-Sand, a mermaid, waiting for him in his favorite armchair. Despite his objections, the two embark on a series of very watery adventures as he tries to get rid of her. But ultimately the thought of being seen with half a fish is simply too much for Mr. Whatwilltheysay to bear—what would people say? So broken-hearted Grain-of-Sand returns to the sea in his bathtub, leaving Mr. Whatwilltheysay to resume his pedestrian existence. Mr. Whatwilltheysay soon finds that his beloved landlubber life, however, lacks the splash and shimmer (and bathtub) of his good times with Grain-of-Sand—and acting against all his instincts, he sets off to sea to find her.

Daniel And Ismail

Daniel and Ismail, one Jewish and the other Palestinian, don’t know each other yet, but they have more in common than they know. They live in the same city and have the same birthday, and this year they get the same presents: a traditional scarf—for Daniel a tallit and for Ismail a keffiyeh and a soccer ball. Taking their gifts out for a spin, they meet by chance on a soccer field, and they soon begin to play together and show off the tricks they can do. They get so absorbed in the fun that they lose track of time and mix up their gifts: Daniel picks up Ismail’s keffiyeh and Ismail takes Daniel’s tallit. When they get home and discover their mistake, their parents are shocked and angry, asking the boys if they realize who wears those things. That night, Daniel and Ismail have nightmares about what they have seen on the news and heard from adults about the other group. But the next day, they find each other in the park and get back to what really matters: having fun and playing the game they both love.

The Candle And The Flame

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, on the Silk Road, which is currently protected by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, from attacks by the violent and ruthless Shayateen djinn–but Fatima was infused with the fire of the Ifrit who died saving her when she was four years old, and when one of the most important Ifrit dies she finds herself drawn into the intrigues of the court, the affairs of the djinn, and the very real dangers of a magical battlefield.

Other Words for Home

Sent with her mother to the safety of a relative’s home in Cincinnati when her Syrian hometown is overshadowed by violence, Jude worries for the family members who were left behind as she adjusts to a new life with unexpected surprises.

Other Words for Home has been discussed in My Take/Your Take in April 2020 and July 2020.

This book has been included in WOW’s Language and Learning: Children’s and Young Adult Fiction Booklist. For our current list, visit our Booklist page under Resources in the green navigation bar.