Author: Vanessa Altin Genre: , ,

The cover of this books shows a gentle relaxing read…
The start of the book has a brutal opening, your breath is took from you and you have no choice but to read this…
The pain and survival story hooks you all the way.
A fantastic book which I would urge all to read!!!

(But please get a wriggle on with book 2….I am waiting)

2 Responses so far.

  1. Louise says:

    This is the diary of Dilvan Haco a 13 year old Kurdish Syrian. The book is aimed at the YA market. A bookseller in the UK has put a warning on the front cover, ‘Not suitable for younger readers’. My recommendation is, if you have any uncertainty, to read the first short chapter because it is quite harrowing. There are very few books I’ve read with an opening chapter that throws you straight into such an emotional and violent situation. However this is not the tone of the overall book, Dilvan is surprisingly positive throughout. She recounts her memories of her family, village and pets in her diary as she attempts to cope with recent events.
    This would be a great school text for older children, there are so many things to be discussed, researched and debated. Young adults fighting, killing, social media as propaganda, the history and culture of the Kurds, intervention by the west, refugees. It presents a situation that my children see on the news daily along with the consequences of these events in a book with a relatable character. It humanises the news.
    I have to mention the illustrations. The illustrations are perfect for the book and thoughtfully complement the text.
    I can’t say I liked or enjoyed this book though. The first chapter is amazing, it is the hook but I felt a lack of engagement, a detachment after that chapter. I’m not sure if the diary format was a success. The story swaps between diary entries and first person narrative which I think interrupted the flow. I was ‘aware’ I was reading a book, I just didn’t get sucked into the story, I didn’t get lost in it. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad book, it is an intensely thought provoking book and is worth a read.

  2. Rachel Bowen says:

    I found this book very thought provoking and moving. Although I was always aware that this is a work of fiction and not a ‘real’ diary the fact that the subject matter is very real is what provides the intensity of the story. I imagine many thousands of displaced people around the work would find elements of their stories in this.

    I thought that the language was easy to follow and the difficult political elements were stripped to the core themes which would be helpful for younger readers. I agree with the Louise that the diary format could at times be a little disjointed but the illustrations were excellent and complimentary to the text. I liked Dilvan, Syrian 13 year old ‘writer’ of the diary. I found it refreshing that such a difficult subject was overall treated with positivity and hope.

    As for some finding this book unsuitable for younger readers I would largely disagree. I would like my 10 year old to read this book. I would of course discuss the core issues and messages with them, but, as the news frequently has headlines covering the Syrian crisis, I think this book provides a sense of the human impact of events in Syria and other troubled regions.

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