The Day War Came

The Day War Came

The Day War Came
Nicola Davies

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406382938

A powerful and necessary picture book - the journey of a child forced to become a refugee when war destroys everything she has ever known. Imagine if, on an ordinary day, war came. Imagine it turned your town to rubble. Imagine going on a long and difficult journey - all alone. Imagine finding no welcome at the end of it. Then imagine a child who gives you something small but very, very precious... When the government refused to allow 3000 child refugees to enter this country in 2016, Nicola Davies was so angry she wrote a poem. It started a campaign for which artists contributed drawings of chairs, symbolising a seat in a classroom, education, kindness, the hope of a future. The poem has become this book, movingly illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, which should prove a powerful aid for explaining the ongoing refugee crisis to younger readers.

Librarian's Book choice

Wow! From the minute I began to read this story I felt the pull on my heartstrings and I was gripped. As a Teacher from a 'School of Sanctuary' with an embedded commitment to being a safe and welcoming place for all, this really was the perfect story to come across.

The Day War Came (now available in paperback) is a poignant one told by a little girl whose world was turned upside down. One day she is in class learning about 'volcanoes and how tadpoles turn at last to frogs' and by lunch the 'War' had come.

Splattering into her life with hail and the voice of thunder, smothering her world in 'smoke and fire and noise' that she didn't understand. 'Ragged, bloody and all alone' the little girl ventures out into this new world of dismay; trying to find a place war hadn't reached, a place where she could push war out of her skin, her eyes and her heart.

A school, she thought, would be the perfect place. The place to feel normal again, to learn again and feel safe although this particular school 'had no room, this school had no chair for her to sit on'. When all is lost and it seems war has engulfed the whole wide, one simple act of kindness, one small voice made every bit of difference and unforgettable changes.

The illustrations are timeless, beautiful pieces of artwork that are just right for the text, empowering enough to show the devastation although not too scary for young readers to digest. The prose is poetic and gentle.

As a school we have shared this book with both the children and parents; incorporating it into presentations and shared learning sessions based around Rights, respecting schools and our commitment to being a School of Sanctuary. This book sparked lots of deep conversation and helped us as teachers to remind and encourage the children to understand the plight of refugees with empathy and compassion.

Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher