The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
The Day War Came
Publisher: Walker Books
One day, a little girl goes to school, unaware that while she is there, her school will be bombed, and her town turned to rubble. Frightened, she runs away: down roads and over fields and mountains, in buses and on a boat that almost sinks, until she reaches a new country. Even there, she cannot escape war: it is in her heart, and in the eyes of the people in the new country that turn away.
Worse, when the little girl finds a school, the teacher sends her away because there isn’t a chair for her to sit on. Yet, a little boy finds her, frightened and alone, to tell her that he has found her a chair for her to sit on at school, inspiring other children to bring chairs so that everyone has a place to sit.
A heartbreaking picture book that perfectly explains the displacement of people, and especially children, in war, and the trauma experienced by people forced to leave their homes. Rebecca Cobb’s illustration is moving and emotive without being scary, and perfectly conveys the sadness of the little girl; the text, a devastatingly simple and deeply affecting prose poem, pulls no punches.