Author: Morten Durr
Illustrator: Lars Horneman
Zenobia is a beautiful, but heart-breaking story about a Syrian girl Amina. The book talks about the plight of refugees and people whose lives are torn apart by the war.
Amina is a young Syrian girl who lives with her parents in the midst of Syrian crisis. One day, Amina’s parents leave her home alone, while they travel to the market. But after much waiting, when they fail to return, she with her Uncle’s help sets on a journey to a safer place.
Amina sets out in a crammed boat. The boat capsizes, and Amina is thrown into the vast sea. While in the water, she seems to be calm and remembers the happy times with her parents. Her playing hide and seek with her mom, the dolmas they ate as a family. She remembers her mother talking about Zenobia, an ancient Syrian warrior Queen.
The book may not have the ending which the kids, and adults too, were hoping for, but such is reality!
I read this book along with my 2 sons, 10 and 7 years. For a long while, after we were done reading, all 3 of us were quiet and there was this hollow feeling deep inside.
Zenobia gives one a glimpse into the Syrian war and the resulting refugee crisis. The text is sparse but poignant and the illustrations are simple yet compelling.
There may be very few words in the book, but those few will haunt you.
“We are headed to a place with no soldiers…”
“They’re not coming back, Amina. Just leave now..”
The pictures are in dark colors, evoking the feeling of uncertainty of what lies ahead in the life of a refugee.
This is graphic storytelling at its best.