Monday, July 21, 2014

I Remember Beirut by Zeina Abirached

Zeina Abirached, who wrote the beautiful and poignant A Game for Swallows writes another graphic novel of wartime memories.

In A Game of Swallows, Abirached tells the story of  her time growing up during the civil war in Lebanon.  It was more of a tradition telling of her life during that time.  In I Remember Beirut, Abirached simply tells things she remembers.

"I remember when there was no electricity or gas, we used kerosene for heating."  "I remember traffic jams."  "I remember how to fold a paper boat."  Each of these memories relates to a larger event or experience Abirached recalls from the time of the war.

It paints a detailed picture of everyday life for a child during this time.  It also allows us to see the things that Abirached remembers and considers important as an adult, and in some cases, how they impacted her.

What I've loved about Abirached's graphic novels is that the simple and straightforward way they are told allows them to be appropriate for a middle grade audience.  Her graphic novels are an excellent way to help a younger child understand war the effects it has on the children, or to explore how another child's life can be so different from their own.

The illustrations are impactful.  Done in black and white, and fitting with the story, simple in detail, the panels and full page illustrations further show the impact these events had on Abirached's life.

I Remember Beirut comes out October 1, 2014.

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