Author(s): Nicola Davies
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.
War hits a young girl's town while she is at school drawing a picture of a bird. It turns her town to blackened rubble and she flees. After a long journey she ends up in another town, but the school there doesn't let her in. War has reached this school too and there are no chairs free for her to sit on. The next morning a young boy her age appears at the entryway of the dark hut she is sleeping in. He is carrying a chair for her to sit on so she can go to school.
This is a story of the dark loneliness of war, and the difference a little bit of compassion can make to those trying to find a new home.
Originally published as a poem in response to the British government's decision not to allow lone refugee children a safe haven in the UK, The Day War Came is beautifully, simply illustrated and full of emotion. The words and images are clear and powerful while remaining simple and relatable enough for young readers. For ages 4+ although this is definitely one that could be studied at secondary level.