Escape from Aleppo by N. H. Sendai is a timely and eye-opening story about a 14-year-old girl who is forced to flee her home during the Syrian Civil War.
When bombs start falling on her neighborhood in October 2013, Nadia’s family decides to leave. But in the chaos, she and her cat Mishmish get separated from the others. With the help of a mysterious old man and two young boys, she’ll have to make her way to the Turkish border.
Escape from Aleppo is a suspenseful and evocative story about her journey through the war-torn city. In addition, through flashbacks, the reader sees glimpses of her ordinary life (painting her fingernails, watching Arab Idol, eating her grandmother’s cookies) before the war.
Although it’s fictional, this book weaves in a lot of factual information. I like middle grade books about recent history because they help kids understand important events that are rarely discussed in school.
I recommend this book for middle schoolers who have read about the Syrian refugee crisis in the news or seen the heartbreaking before-and-after pictures of the ancient city of Aleppo and want to know more about what kids are going through in that part of the world.