Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Game for Swallows

A Game for Swallows: To die, to leave, to return by Zeina Abirached. Published 2012 by Graphic Universe.

This book has been compared to Persepolis and it is very similar having to do with war in the Middle East and in black and white graphic novel form. Where Persepolis takes place over years as one girl grows up amidst war in Iran, this novel takes place over the course of a night with subsequent flashbacks for different characters. This book explores the war in Lebanon in the 80s and how one apartment complex takes refuge in the foyer of one family's apartment sharing in their fears, hopes and anxieties.
The drawings are very rounded and seemingly simple creating a cartoon like feel but the claustrophobic crowding of the panels creates the feel of the apartment as more and more people come in for comfort and refuge. The speak bubble literally create the tension in the air as they wait to hear from the children's parents who have been missing for hours.
I think this book is a great history lesson and companion to other books on the subject of war in the Middle East or war in general.

Intended reading level: Grades 7+
Genre: Non-fiction, Graphic Novel, Memoir, War

Questions to the Reader: Would you want to stay in your family home and city or would you want to leave under similar circumstances? Why or why not? Why do you think all the neighbors gathered into the one home?

Read-alikes: Persepolis 1 and 2, Maus I and II

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