THE DAY WAR CAME, by Nicola Davies, Illustrated By Rebecca Cobb, Candlewick Press



A moving, poetic narrative and child-friendly illustrations follow the heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful journey of a little girl who is forced to become a refugee.

“The day war came there were flowers on the windowsill and my father sang my baby brother back to sleep.”

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.

Out September 4, 2018


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

It took me some time to write this review because of the sobering effect I felt after reading it.  What struck me so deeply is that this is happening now… to children.

Then there’s the fact that it was written in the form of a picture book that bothered me. Are children of this age bracket ready to read something like this book that is so impacting and realistic? The jury’s still out on that one. Children can be a lot stronger and resilient than some adults, but sometimes, I feel, there’s a time and place when children should learn the truths about our world and the human civilization–mainly, there’s nothing really civil about it at times.  We live in cruel and hateful times right now, urged on by greed, religious causes, and political gain to mention a few, and I feel innocence in children must be preserved for as long as possible before they are forced to confront the crueler sides of humanity.  Of course that’s me living in a hopeful bubble.

With the stress and ever-growing breakdown of family unity and dynamics, a child’s innocence seems to be the first to go.

Nicola Davies writes a story that is forthright, sad and has a hard hitting reality about what a child living in other countries faces daily. I think it’s an important story that needs to be told and she does this well, with careful wording accompanied by heart-wrenching illustrations.  This book should be explored by our children but it’s up to parents to decide when, or perhaps, explore it with them.

This book carries an important message that must be told and I feel it was done tactfully and with care.

I gave it:



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