Nour's Secret Library
Wafa' Tarnowska, Vali Mintzi (illustrator)
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When the streets of Nour and Amir’s town turn into battlefields, the two children and their friends sneak out during lulls in the shelling to collect books and create a library which they name Al-Fajr (Dawn). The award-winning author spent months as a child in a basement to survive shelling during the civil war in Lebanon, where she took refuge in books. She was inspired to write this picture book by young people in Daraya, Syria, who under siege saved 15,000 books from bombed houses and created a library in the basement of an abandoned building. The illustrator cleverly uses charcoal to give a sense of the reality of war, and gouache to communicate hope and spirit; the text has a storytelling feel.