for The Cat Man of Aleppo
by Karim Shamsi-Basha, Irene Latham, and Yuko Shimizu
Alaa is an ambulance driver who stayed in his beloved city of Aleppo through the bombings during the Syrian war and has made it his mission to save the cats left behind when many people were forced to flee. In this lightly fictionalized account, the language is simple and straightforward as it describes his efforts, which led to an outpouring of financial support from around the world, enabling him to construct a building to house the cats. Alaa soon branched out to save other abandoned animals and then expanded his efforts to build a children's playground. Excellent ink-and-watercolor illustrations bring the people and setting to life in this engaging account. Each person (and cat) is distinctive, and readers will be easily able to identify the central character by his stocky build and red sweater. While the story is heartwarming, it doesn't ignore the human toll caused by the war in Aleppo, nor does it minimize the harsh realities of surviving there. Notes in the back of the book describe the research done by the book's creators. (Ages 5-8)
CCBC Choices 2021. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2021. Used with permission.
The Caldecott Honor-winning true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who in the midst of the Syrian Civil War courageously offered safe haven to Aleppo's abandoned cats.
Aleppo's city center no longer echoes with the rich, exciting sounds of copper-pot pounding and traditional sword sharpening. His neighborhood is empty--except for the many cats left behind.
Alaa loves Aleppo, but when war comes his neighbors flee to safety, leaving their many pets behind. Alaa decides to stay--he can make a difference by driving an ambulance, carrying the sick and wounded to safety. One day he hears hungry cats calling out to him on his way home. They are lonely and scared, just like him. He feeds and pets them to let them know they are loved. The next day more cats come, and then even more! There are too many for Alaa to take care of on his own. Alaa has a big heart, but he will need help from others if he wants to keep all of his new friends safe.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.