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Children of War

Written by Deborah Ellis

  • 128 Pages
  • 9781554980086
  • Reading age to 12
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Middle East
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Social Situations / Death & Dying



Publication Date March 01, 2009

USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List

In this book, Deborah Ellis turns her attention to the most tragic victims of the Iraq war -- Iraqi children. She interviews young people, mostly refugees living in Jordan, but also a few who are trying to build new lives in North America. Some families have left Iraq with money; others are penniless and ill or disabled. Most of the children have parents who are working illegally or not at all, and the fear of deportation is a constant threat.

Ellis provides an historical overview and brief explanations of context, but other than that allows the children to speak for themselves, with minimal editorial comment or interference. Their stories are frank, harrowing and sometimes show surprising resilience, as the children try to survive the consequences of a war in which they played no part. A glossary, map and suggestions for further information are included.

Long-listed for the OLA Silver Birch Nonfiction Award 2010

Selected for the USBBY Outstanding International Books 2010


Deborah Ellis
Deborah Ellis is best known for her Breadwinner books — a series that has been published in twenty-five languages, with more than $1 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International. She has won the Governor General’s Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She recently received the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement, and she has been named to the Order of Ontario.


Star Review

"An important, current title that will have lasting significance." Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"...The voices are poignant, insightful, angry and hopeful...Photographs of the interviewes and a glossary round out an important chronicle of war and the world's most vulnerable-the children." Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"A collection of heartrending entries based on interviews with displaced kids...The introduction offers a clear, concise summary of the events...and the photographs accompanying the stories personalize the harrowing plights." School Library Journal

"Ellis gives children a voice that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to express so readily in the mainstream media...[Children of War] exposes the complexity of the issues surrounding the war, and discourages any simplistic understandings that her readers may have held about the war's origins...A significant strength of this book is its accessibility for readers of all ages and cultural backgrounds...Highly recommended." CM Magazine

"A, this book really helps raise awareness of the vulnerable and heartbreaking situation of refugees, and is likely to inspire social justice-oriented readers to start advocating on their behalf."

"...there's no real room for doubt that [the children's] grim attitudes...[and] outlook on the future, are painfully authentic." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The Stories are poignant, heart wrenching, and ring with truth...†...a starting point for a disscussion on the impact of war on children from the childs perspective." VOYA

"Eye-opening...unforgettable and thought-provoking...the contrast between the simple language of these child refugees and the horrific events they relate is wrenching." Quill & Quire