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Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq

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The inspiring story of an Iraqi librarian's courageous fight to save books from the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in the war. It is 2003 and Alia Muhammad Baker, the chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq, has grown worried given the increased likelihood of war in her country. Determined to preserve the irreplacable records of the culture and The inspiring story of an Iraqi librarian's courageous fight to save books from the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in the war. It is 2003 and Alia Muhammad Baker, the chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq, has grown worried given the increased likelihood of war in her country. Determined to preserve the irreplacable records of the culture and history of the land on which she lives from the destruction of the war, Alia undertakes a courageous and extremely dangerous task of spiriting away 30,000 books from the library to a safe place. Told in dramatic graphic-novel panels by acclaimed cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty, Alia's Mission celebrates the importance of books and the freedom to read, while examining the impact of war on a country and its people.


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The inspiring story of an Iraqi librarian's courageous fight to save books from the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in the war. It is 2003 and Alia Muhammad Baker, the chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq, has grown worried given the increased likelihood of war in her country. Determined to preserve the irreplacable records of the culture and The inspiring story of an Iraqi librarian's courageous fight to save books from the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in the war. It is 2003 and Alia Muhammad Baker, the chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq, has grown worried given the increased likelihood of war in her country. Determined to preserve the irreplacable records of the culture and history of the land on which she lives from the destruction of the war, Alia undertakes a courageous and extremely dangerous task of spiriting away 30,000 books from the library to a safe place. Told in dramatic graphic-novel panels by acclaimed cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty, Alia's Mission celebrates the importance of books and the freedom to read, while examining the impact of war on a country and its people.

30 review for Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I am a sucker for a good library story. This is a nice graphic novel based on the true story of Alia Muhammad Baker, who was the chief librarian at the central library in Basra, and in 2003 she managed to save 30,000 books just before the library was destroyed during the invasion of Iraq. Alia had been concerned that the library was a target because the government had set up operations inside the building. Alia asked the government for permission to move the books, but her request was denied. She I am a sucker for a good library story. This is a nice graphic novel based on the true story of Alia Muhammad Baker, who was the chief librarian at the central library in Basra, and in 2003 she managed to save 30,000 books just before the library was destroyed during the invasion of Iraq. Alia had been concerned that the library was a target because the government had set up operations inside the building. Alia asked the government for permission to move the books, but her request was denied. She decided she had to do something to protect the collection, so she started smuggling books home and later she hid books in the restaurant next to the library. Alia's fears soon came true when the library caught fire. But she had managed to save 30,000 volumes by then. I found "Alia's Mission" and "The Librarian of Basra" in the juvenile collection of my library. Both books tell essentially the same story, but "Alia's Mission" has a lot more information in its panels, including the detail that Alia was so worn out from hauling away those books that she had a stroke. It also mentions how the great Baghdad libraries were ravaged during a Mongol invasion in 1258, which was a story that had deeply affected Alia and inspired her to take action to protect the Basra library. In contrast, "The Librarian of Basra" has more colorful pictures and fewer words, and is meant for a younger audience. Both books gloss over the details of the hows and whys of the war, which is understandable, and both end on the positive note that Alia was involved in the plans for rebuilding the Basra library. These are nice children's books, and are a pleasant reminder of how one person can make a difference.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    Whew! My last picture book at home. There was quite a pile. Of course, more are in the pipeline, but I really am trying to cut back on children’s picture books so I have more time to read other types of books. I recently read another book about this woman and this situation, The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq. I did like that book, although I didn’t love it. I did love this one. There was more background and more explanation. I love how the story didn’t start in the middle, but earlier Whew! My last picture book at home. There was quite a pile. Of course, more are in the pipeline, but I really am trying to cut back on children’s picture books so I have more time to read other types of books. I recently read another book about this woman and this situation, The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq. I did like that book, although I didn’t love it. I did love this one. There was more background and more explanation. I love how the story didn’t start in the middle, but earlier. the frames show Alia as a librarian, recommending books to patrons and helping them. It gives the back story from Alia’s childhood of why she loved books so much. It explains how she started saving the books by bringing them to her home and only then to the restaurant next door to the library, and it does tell more about the war, about the the cultural importance of the books, about Iraq’s dictator and which countries were bombing Iraq. And what happened to Alia and the saved books after the fire. And why Alia had cause to worry about the books in their location in the library. It’s a full enough story. There is a wonderful and informative page in the back that touches on the stories of other libraries and the history of Iraq and the Middle East as it pertains to the written language. Mentioned is the Alexandrian Library, the clay tablets of Ebla, the Nizamiyah library, and an update (as of when this book was published in 2004) of the future of the Basra Central Library, Alia’s library. This book is definitely for independent readers. The pages are too full and chaotic for this to be a good read aloud book to pre-readers. The cartoons are in black & white. Some pages are sparse but many are incredibly detailed and busy. As a lover of libraries and books, I was emotionally touched by this story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Abeer Hoque

    I got turned on to illustrator/author Mark Alan Stamaty through my niece's book collection which includes the graphic novelette "Who Needs Donuts" - a black and white illustrated children's book with such intricate and wondrous drawings that any adult or child could stare at a single page entranced. I looked for other books by him and found this gem: "Alia's Mission" which contains Mr. Stamaty's lovely detailed illustrations (some readers have complained about the panels being too busy, but I fi I got turned on to illustrator/author Mark Alan Stamaty through my niece's book collection which includes the graphic novelette "Who Needs Donuts" - a black and white illustrated children's book with such intricate and wondrous drawings that any adult or child could stare at a single page entranced. I looked for other books by him and found this gem: "Alia's Mission" which contains Mr. Stamaty's lovely detailed illustrations (some readers have complained about the panels being too busy, but I find this exact quality totally compelling). "Alia's Mission" tells the story of a heroic Iraqi woman, Alia Baker, a librarian at Basra Central Library who takes on the monumental task of trying to save the books of Iraq during the war. It has an American political slant but I still found the story and drawings fabulous, and a great jumpstart for discussions about war and cultural treasures and so on. And it made me cry. I recommend it for just about anyone.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Alia's Mission is a really solid telling of the story of Alia Muhammad Baker, an incredible librarian who saved thousands of books from destruction in Basra. The comic style works well to tell this story. I thought sometimes the language and art style didn't match up in maturity level, but overall it was a great read, and it shared important information. The additional library history at the end was appreciated. Recommended. Alia's Mission is a really solid telling of the story of Alia Muhammad Baker, an incredible librarian who saved thousands of books from destruction in Basra. The comic style works well to tell this story. I thought sometimes the language and art style didn't match up in maturity level, but overall it was a great read, and it shared important information. The additional library history at the end was appreciated. Recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shiloah

    Written in graphic novel/ comic style. We read this aloud as a family. Excellent and inspiring story!

  6. 5 out of 5

    L.E. Fidler

    this is clearly a junior book, so i'll try to keep that in mind when i review it. i have to read this novel for a course i'm taking over the summer on comic books and graphic novels. the story is relatively straightforward and short - alia is a dedicated librarian who worries that the cultural history of her city (and country) will become a casualty in the war about to ravage iraq. because books have meant so much to her, she works tirelessly to save 30,000 books from the library before it is ult this is clearly a junior book, so i'll try to keep that in mind when i review it. i have to read this novel for a course i'm taking over the summer on comic books and graphic novels. the story is relatively straightforward and short - alia is a dedicated librarian who worries that the cultural history of her city (and country) will become a casualty in the war about to ravage iraq. because books have meant so much to her, she works tirelessly to save 30,000 books from the library before it is ultimately destroyed by fire. she initially doesn't feel like she's done enough; she has a stroke and suffers emotional and physical strain from her efforts. ultimately, the community rallies around her as she recuperates and she acknowledges what an accomplishment she has made. that's about it. and most of it you can get if you read the inside sleeve of the book. so, i guess i don't get it entirely. it's a sweet story and it's nice to know how humanity can shine even in darker moments. there's a bit of redundancy here that makes me feel like the text is meant for very low level young children, and i feel like that's a shame. part of the allure of teaching graphic novels is that you can use the illustrations as a way for students who struggle with complicated words or ideas to access the material. this felt overwhelmingly straightforward on so many levels. in fact, the first two pages repeat the exact same concept: alia is a superhero, even though she doesn't wear a cape or costume and even though she doesn't have any fancy supernatural powers. now, i love books, and i agree: what alia did is heroic (even though she did it at the expense of her own personal safety and health). but the rest of the story is so oversimplified that the magic of her heroism is lost a bit in translation.

  7. 5 out of 5

    A

    Appropriate for ages 10+ A true story of how a librarian and her helpers saved 30,000 books from destruction in graphic novel format. One cannot fail to be moved by the true story of this book. It tells of a librarian, Alia Muhammed Baker, who saved 30,000 books from the library in Basra, Iraq, which would have otherwise burned after the U.S. invasion and subsequent looting. Told in graphic novel format, the story shows how, without government assistance but with the help of many friends and volun Appropriate for ages 10+ A true story of how a librarian and her helpers saved 30,000 books from destruction in graphic novel format. One cannot fail to be moved by the true story of this book. It tells of a librarian, Alia Muhammed Baker, who saved 30,000 books from the library in Basra, Iraq, which would have otherwise burned after the U.S. invasion and subsequent looting. Told in graphic novel format, the story shows how, without government assistance but with the help of many friends and volunteers, people managed to move the books into safekeeping before the library burned down. As a result of the fire, the librarian suffered a stroke, but was glad to learn how many books had been saved. The book serves to convey this inspiring story to young readers, as well as the horror of the library burning. My only criticism is that the artwork is not as vibrant and effective as it could be--there is not much variation in the faces and it would be more interesting if children got the chance to see what the Iraqi surroundings look like in color. A reviewer in the Horn Book (March/April, 2005) recommended that libraries also have, in addition to this book, The Librarian of Basra, by Jeanette Winter, which apparently has better illustrations. The reviewer thought that the graphic novel format and the black and white illutrations of this book, however, made the action more immediate and exciting. A Kirkus revewer (1/1/05) informs us that Baker is overseeing the construction of a new library. The reviewer highly recommended this book as a means of showing that Iraqis are human beings, and conveying the horror of war and its effect on soldiers and ordinary people. Both reviews contained helpful plot summaries and evaluative information.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    People call this a graphic novel, and while the art is technically drawn in sequence it felt more like a picture book for school kids. It's a good story about an Iraqi librarian who saved thousands of books before the public library in Basra got bombed in 2003. As a library school student writing a thesis about the organization of nonfiction graphic novels this felt like the perfect buy. However, now that I've read it I wish I had bought the picture book The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from People call this a graphic novel, and while the art is technically drawn in sequence it felt more like a picture book for school kids. It's a good story about an Iraqi librarian who saved thousands of books before the public library in Basra got bombed in 2003. As a library school student writing a thesis about the organization of nonfiction graphic novels this felt like the perfect buy. However, now that I've read it I wish I had bought the picture book The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq which has more appealing art. This is a very basic story written for kids, and if you go into it with that understanding it's probably great. It felt very lacking, though. I think this type of book should be packed with more facts, more history. The author attempted this, but it was more of a hey kids learn a modern day hero type of story. There are some interesting facts about historical Middle Eastern libraries in the back.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The second book I've read about Alia Muhammad Baker and her mission to save the books in the Basra library during the first Iraq War. This one, a graphic novel, explores her background as a child who was fascinated by books and reading as well as the stories of ancient civilization. This interest led her to recall the great Baghdad library and how it was damaged, but not destroyed, during the Mongol invasions. She didn't want this to happen to her own treasured library, and she took steps to mov The second book I've read about Alia Muhammad Baker and her mission to save the books in the Basra library during the first Iraq War. This one, a graphic novel, explores her background as a child who was fascinated by books and reading as well as the stories of ancient civilization. This interest led her to recall the great Baghdad library and how it was damaged, but not destroyed, during the Mongol invasions. She didn't want this to happen to her own treasured library, and she took steps to move and thereby protect over 30,000 books. I love how the narrator opens by defining the word "superhero" and reminding us that not all superheroes have the powers that we have come to expect from the likes of Marvel and DC Comics. Ms. Baker is a true superhero to the patrons of the Al Basrah Central Library.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This graphic novel details the true story of Alia, the Chief Librarian of the Basra Central Library. During the Iraq War, Alia led the effort to save over 30,000 books from the Basra Library, which was burnt to the ground. She saved the books by storing them in her own home, a nearby restaurant, anywhere she could find room. The back of the book includes some background history on the libraries of Iraq and the Middle East. This book is most appropriate for ages 9-12. It could be paired with The This graphic novel details the true story of Alia, the Chief Librarian of the Basra Central Library. During the Iraq War, Alia led the effort to save over 30,000 books from the Basra Library, which was burnt to the ground. She saved the books by storing them in her own home, a nearby restaurant, anywhere she could find room. The back of the book includes some background history on the libraries of Iraq and the Middle East. This book is most appropriate for ages 9-12. It could be paired with The Librarian of Basra, a picture book that tells the same story. This book could be included in a unit on biographies or the Middle East.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike Fiore

    Mark Alan Stamaty's "Ailia's Mission" is a very short graphic novel. It tells the story of Alia, an Iraqi woman who works as chief librarian in Basra, Iraq. With the threat of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq looming overhead, Alia makes it her mission to save as many books in the library as possible. I'm not sure if this is realistic fiction or nonfiction, nut either way it could be used as an informational or historical piece and you could make a case for ethnic literature. If you enjoy an Mark Alan Stamaty's "Ailia's Mission" is a very short graphic novel. It tells the story of Alia, an Iraqi woman who works as chief librarian in Basra, Iraq. With the threat of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq looming overhead, Alia makes it her mission to save as many books in the library as possible. I'm not sure if this is realistic fiction or nonfiction, nut either way it could be used as an informational or historical piece and you could make a case for ethnic literature. If you enjoy any of those three, then you may enjoy this. Fair warning, it's a very short book and is written in a style geared towards children.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    A graphic novel to warm the cockles of librarians' hearts everywhere, this tells the story of Alia, a library at the Central Baghdad Library, who realizes when she hears the Americans are coming that the library will most likely be looted and destroyed. She begins by smuggling books out on her own, but soon enlists the help of friends, neighbors and then random Iraqis to try and save the books of the library. Incredibly, they manage to save some 30,000 volumes from destruction -- because yes,the A graphic novel to warm the cockles of librarians' hearts everywhere, this tells the story of Alia, a library at the Central Baghdad Library, who realizes when she hears the Americans are coming that the library will most likely be looted and destroyed. She begins by smuggling books out on her own, but soon enlists the help of friends, neighbors and then random Iraqis to try and save the books of the library. Incredibly, they manage to save some 30,000 volumes from destruction -- because yes,the library is indeed destroyed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    For the younger reader, this graphic biography sheds light on an important story of survival and commitment to intellectual freedom in Iraq. Purchased for my school library with our Read for Information grant. It's a great addition for the 7th grade Humanities project the grant addresses: little known agents of change in the last 30 years. This little book will be a great start in someone's research process. For the younger reader, this graphic biography sheds light on an important story of survival and commitment to intellectual freedom in Iraq. Purchased for my school library with our Read for Information grant. It's a great addition for the 7th grade Humanities project the grant addresses: little known agents of change in the last 30 years. This little book will be a great start in someone's research process.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    This was a graphic novel biography, and it was pretty good, but I would have liked more detail. It was fairly basic information.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Very interesting story; fairly interesting book. However, the volume is so slim that shelving it would be a problem, and I don't know that my students would pick it up. Sadly, will pass on purchasing. Very interesting story; fairly interesting book. However, the volume is so slim that shelving it would be a problem, and I don't know that my students would pick it up. Sadly, will pass on purchasing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    When books are destroyed, so is culture and no one knew that more than Alia Muhammad Baker, who was the head librarian in Basra. She knew as forces were pushing into her area that the books were not safe, which meant that history would be lost. When her request was denied to move the books, she took action herself as a citizen and started stockpiling the books in her home and at a neighboring restaurant and lo and behold, the library was badly damaged by fire. Yet over 30,000 books were saved by When books are destroyed, so is culture and no one knew that more than Alia Muhammad Baker, who was the head librarian in Basra. She knew as forces were pushing into her area that the books were not safe, which meant that history would be lost. When her request was denied to move the books, she took action herself as a citizen and started stockpiling the books in her home and at a neighboring restaurant and lo and behold, the library was badly damaged by fire. Yet over 30,000 books were saved by her ingenuity and the help of others. It's a slice of life about something important and significant and I'm better for having read it as would other people because it's the small things that end of being bigger.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    "We will have about 40,000 very special guests! If I have enough time to move all the books." "Those books are like people to me. Living, breathing beings." "We will have about 40,000 very special guests! If I have enough time to move all the books." "Those books are like people to me. Living, breathing beings."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Huong

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq is a graphic novel based off a true story that takes place in Basra, Iraq about a librarian at the Central Library who helped saved the library books when the Iraq War began. The graphic novel begins with a talking book that narrates and gives simplified background information to the problems that Iraq was facing in 2003. As the book was written for elementary students, this narrative helps students in that age range to understand the basic details rega Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq is a graphic novel based off a true story that takes place in Basra, Iraq about a librarian at the Central Library who helped saved the library books when the Iraq War began. The graphic novel begins with a talking book that narrates and gives simplified background information to the problems that Iraq was facing in 2003. As the book was written for elementary students, this narrative helps students in that age range to understand the basic details regarding Iraq in one page. The book is in black and white, drawn in sketch manner with pencils and shaded in within certain areas to add affect and shadowing. The drawings remind me of something students may draw themselves, though more professional than their drawings would be. Maybe this was made to make the graphic novel seem more relatable for students. The font is all in bold letters, making it easy to read and decipher the letters. The panels move left to right, top to bottom, and then occasionally, there is full page panel to emphasize important scenes (e.g. the stacks of books that flood Alia’s house on page 13 show the impact of her hard work). The most important part or climax of the book is the actual destruction of the library, which is the only picture in the book to be given two full pages to showcase the flames spouting of the library, as citizens stood watching helplessly. Despite catering to a younger audience, the drawings are surprisingly detailed, particularly the scene in the city with people talking about what is happening in the library (pg. 19) in the crowded streets where people work (selling shoes and food) and go about their daily chores or simply reading a newspaper. In addition, the last page of this book has interesting facts about the library in the Middle East and in Iraq that can be shared with students. I think pages 8-13 can be read aloud to students because it relates how the war is affecting Alia’s decision about what she needs to do with the library books and it shows a glimpse of how the government of Iraq at the time made decisions. These ideas are a little more complicated, so having a teacher guide and scaffold students through it would create a more rich understanding of the text. I think this graphic novel does a good job of giving students another perspective on life in Iraq and another side to what was happening when the war began there. Though the story may not be as exciting as some other young children’s graphic novel, it does bring a real and informative understanding of the Iraq War to younger students in a manner that is comprehensible to them through pictures. Hence, this graphic novel is great way to introduce the topic of the Iraq War and other historical facts about the country to students. Students can use this reading to discuss what they learned from the reading about Iraq or the important role that books play to all societies.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jon Hewelt

    Great substance that's slightly undone by style. Alia's Mission concerns Alia Muhammad Baker, chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq. In the midst of invasion and ensuing riots, Alia and her friends, neighbors and relatives conspire to save the books of the Central Library from being destroyed, despite receiving no government assistance whatsoever. It's a harrowing story, especially for those who love books and libraries, and it's a story you wouldn't hear much of otherwise, especi Great substance that's slightly undone by style. Alia's Mission concerns Alia Muhammad Baker, chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq. In the midst of invasion and ensuing riots, Alia and her friends, neighbors and relatives conspire to save the books of the Central Library from being destroyed, despite receiving no government assistance whatsoever. It's a harrowing story, especially for those who love books and libraries, and it's a story you wouldn't hear much of otherwise, especially in the United States. (That's the impression I get, at least.) Unfortunately, Alia's Mission feels like a book that KNOWS it's worth telling and draws attention to that fact. A talking book introduces us to Alia's story, emphasizing how the word "superhero" can refer to different kinds of people. The author, Mark Alan Stamaty, wants to make it absolutely clear that Alia is a superhero--which she is--but doesn't seem to think that her story is enough to prove it on its own. Even for a children's book, it's didactic. This, and the illustrations distract from Alia's story. The art style is more realistic than cartoonish, but not quite realistic enough. Movements and facial expressions feel extremely staff, and the whole thing has a slight uncanny valley feel. It's unsettling when characters smile. Nevertheless, this is a case in which the story told is interesting enough and worth telling enough to ignore the less-than-stellar elements. Check out Alia's Mission if only to learn about her dedication to libraries, to read about the risks she took to save the books she loved and to aid her community in the best way she could. For that, in spite of the bad illustrations, is extraordinary, and her story is worth being told, didactically or otherwise.

  20. 5 out of 5

    S10_tommccormack

    Ages: 11 and up "Alia's Mission" is a graphic novel and tells the story of a woman who was instrumental in saving over 30,000 books from the Central Library in Basra during the Iraq War. Alia is a librarian who sees the writing on the wall before her library is destroyed, so she starts sneaking books into her own house and other locations. When the library is ultimately destroyed, only the books she took remain. This book attempts to provide a different perspective of the Iraq War, but it still h Ages: 11 and up "Alia's Mission" is a graphic novel and tells the story of a woman who was instrumental in saving over 30,000 books from the Central Library in Basra during the Iraq War. Alia is a librarian who sees the writing on the wall before her library is destroyed, so she starts sneaking books into her own house and other locations. When the library is ultimately destroyed, only the books she took remain. This book attempts to provide a different perspective of the Iraq War, but it still has a decidedly American slant. This is most obvious when the book takes potshots at Saddam Hussein. Older children and adults will appreciate this book more because the crux of the story involves saving thousands of years of history and culture. This book might be useful for kickstarting a discussion of the human cost of war or the importance of cultural reproduction. However, it seems that Iraqi (or other Middle Eastern) readers might take issue with some of the story as well as the artwork.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    My kids seemed to like this book for the illustrations and the basic story of how beloved library books were saved. Myself, I found it overly simplistic --or should I say, the book provoked more questions than it answered. For example, which texts was Alia Muhammad Baker most desperate to save? Were there copies of those books in other libraries or institutions? Was she mainly concerned with preserving her own library collection, since that was her job, or a certain body of literature? When her My kids seemed to like this book for the illustrations and the basic story of how beloved library books were saved. Myself, I found it overly simplistic --or should I say, the book provoked more questions than it answered. For example, which texts was Alia Muhammad Baker most desperate to save? Were there copies of those books in other libraries or institutions? Was she mainly concerned with preserving her own library collection, since that was her job, or a certain body of literature? When her library was destroyed, which texts were lost, and could they be replaced? Were they? What is the religious significance of text preservation and destruction in Islam? The notes at the back of the book say that clay tablets from Ebla survived a fire in 2250 BCE whereas papyrus scrolls from Alexandria were destroyed in the fire circa 200 CE. What does this teach us about text preservation? If we make digital copies and then lose the ability to access them, does that make them as ephemeral as papyrus, paper, or clay?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Amici

    Reading Level- 3-6 Genre- Non-fiction Picture book Topic- War is going on in Iraq & Alia is on a mission to save the books from the library Social- This book relates socially to our time today because of the war that is still going on in Iraq. It could be used to help children get a better understanding. Literary elements- This book is based on a true story Curricula Use- Guided reading Text & Pictures- The pictures are in a comic form which made it hard at first to follow along. Now looking at it, I Reading Level- 3-6 Genre- Non-fiction Picture book Topic- War is going on in Iraq & Alia is on a mission to save the books from the library Social- This book relates socially to our time today because of the war that is still going on in Iraq. It could be used to help children get a better understanding. Literary elements- This book is based on a true story Curricula Use- Guided reading Text & Pictures- The pictures are in a comic form which made it hard at first to follow along. Now looking at it, I couldn't imagine it any other way. Summary- Alia is a librarian in Iraq. The books are being threatened by the war that is taking place all around. She really has a passion for her library and it shows when she takes on the task of saving the books. She works day and night to save the books and eventually the community comes together to help her. In the end, she saves thousands and thousands of books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The story of an Iraqi librarian who fought to save the books at the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in war. In spite of the government’s disapproval, Alia inspired a community of people to save 30,000 books from the library. Okay, so I made another attempt at reading a graphic novel. Call me a glutton for punishment! Actually, this one was much more accessible for me and I was able to read it with little difficulty. This text was not nearly as busy as "Amelia Rules" as there were fe The story of an Iraqi librarian who fought to save the books at the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in war. In spite of the government’s disapproval, Alia inspired a community of people to save 30,000 books from the library. Okay, so I made another attempt at reading a graphic novel. Call me a glutton for punishment! Actually, this one was much more accessible for me and I was able to read it with little difficulty. This text was not nearly as busy as "Amelia Rules" as there were fewer characters and not as much dialogue. The reason I decided to give this book a try was because of the cultural element. With the ongoing conflict in Iraq, I think it is important for students to be able to make connections beyond what is presented by the media. I think the fact that wars, for the most part, have not been fought on our soil, makes it hard for all of us to appreciate what can be lost during such a conflict.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    A short but telling graphic novel, Mr. Stamaty’s drawings adroitly portray one woman’s fear that the great literature of her country will be lost because of the destruction of warfare and the government’s vast indifference. The illustrations are eloquent in conveying mood, activity, background and landscape. It is funny to see Alia’s home filled to the brim with books and poignant when you realize that her efforts aren’t enough. The black-and-white-and-gray illustrations are matched neatly with A short but telling graphic novel, Mr. Stamaty’s drawings adroitly portray one woman’s fear that the great literature of her country will be lost because of the destruction of warfare and the government’s vast indifference. The illustrations are eloquent in conveying mood, activity, background and landscape. It is funny to see Alia’s home filled to the brim with books and poignant when you realize that her efforts aren’t enough. The black-and-white-and-gray illustrations are matched neatly with the writing as Alia’s efforts expand to bring in the many volunteers who banded together in this vast labor of love to save Basra’s history. The tension is built gradually but perceptibly as the drawings widen out to include Alia’s friends, neighbors, co-workers and then strangers on the street. This is a wonderful children’s book about a very adult topic and a touching tribute to any bibliophile who has ever championed books.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Linzi Wilkinson

    Genre: Picture book Reading Level: Grade 4-6 Topics & Themes: This book is set during the first Iraq war. Alia saves thousands of books from the local library before the war begins. She is a hero to many people. Curricular Use: Shared reading, read aloud Social: This book talks about the Iraq war that we are currently fighting. Be sensitive when talking about this topic because many children might have parents or relatives fighting in the war. Literary Elements: This books introduces to children ab Genre: Picture book Reading Level: Grade 4-6 Topics & Themes: This book is set during the first Iraq war. Alia saves thousands of books from the local library before the war begins. She is a hero to many people. Curricular Use: Shared reading, read aloud Social: This book talks about the Iraq war that we are currently fighting. Be sensitive when talking about this topic because many children might have parents or relatives fighting in the war. Literary Elements: This books introduces to children about the war. The book shows courage. Text & Pictures: I don't like that the author chose to portray this book in a comic book fashion. I don't enjoy reading comic books and I feel that if this book was written in the more traditional fashion that more children would want to read this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Corby Lancaster

    Genre- Picture book Reading Level- 2-6 Topic and Themes- Alia wants to save the books from the library. War is going on around her Curricula use- Read Aloud and Shared reading Social- The Iraq war is happening and the library is being used as a headquarters. Alia wants to save the books. The community pulls together and helps her. Literary Elements- Based on true events Text and Pictures- This book is written in comic book format. I feel it's an unusual way to portray something so serious Summary- Alia Genre- Picture book Reading Level- 2-6 Topic and Themes- Alia wants to save the books from the library. War is going on around her Curricula use- Read Aloud and Shared reading Social- The Iraq war is happening and the library is being used as a headquarters. Alia wants to save the books. The community pulls together and helps her. Literary Elements- Based on true events Text and Pictures- This book is written in comic book format. I feel it's an unusual way to portray something so serious Summary- Alia is a librarian. She has a special connection to the books in her library. The Iraq war is happening all around her and the library is being threatened. She works hard to get as many books out of the library as she can. She and the community save thousands of books. This is a story of honor and courage.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lady Knight

    Great way to tell this story! Very much a good book to read in conjunction with The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq, although "Librarian" is for a younger crowd than this graphic novel (which is probably ideal for 10 though 14 year olds). Fantastic true story of a brave librarian who organized the saving of thousands of books as the war in Iraq rolled closer and closer. Although the library did burn to the ground, she along with a large part of her neighbours and library users managed Great way to tell this story! Very much a good book to read in conjunction with The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq, although "Librarian" is for a younger crowd than this graphic novel (which is probably ideal for 10 though 14 year olds). Fantastic true story of a brave librarian who organized the saving of thousands of books as the war in Iraq rolled closer and closer. Although the library did burn to the ground, she along with a large part of her neighbours and library users managed to save 30 000 volumes. The novel ends on a happy note with the planning of a new library with even more books.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq tells the remarkable story of Iraqi librarian, Alia Muhammad Baker. In 2003, Alia knew that her library- the Central Library of Basra- could be targeted in the impending war. She courageously begins smuggling books out of the library and brings them to the safety of her home. Other residents of Basra- including the owner of a restaurant close to the library- work with Alia to save the library collection. Alia and her neighbors were able to save over 30,00 Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq tells the remarkable story of Iraqi librarian, Alia Muhammad Baker. In 2003, Alia knew that her library- the Central Library of Basra- could be targeted in the impending war. She courageously begins smuggling books out of the library and brings them to the safety of her home. Other residents of Basra- including the owner of a restaurant close to the library- work with Alia to save the library collection. Alia and her neighbors were able to save over 30,000 books before the library was destroyed. This graphic novel celebrates the importance of books and reading. It also serves as an excellent way to introduce younger readers to the impact of war on a country and its people. An inspiring read with outstanding illustrations.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Korben

    to be honest this book wasn't the best book out there because it says books way to many times like there so about the books there not even worried about the war. when people came in a looted the library no body even touched the books. but then a terrible thing happen .... the library busted into flames and they were all sad about the books that they didn't save. but this girls said but think about all the books that we did save . hen alia started thinking about after the war how she was going to to be honest this book wasn't the best book out there because it says books way to many times like there so about the books there not even worried about the war. when people came in a looted the library no body even touched the books. but then a terrible thing happen .... the library busted into flames and they were all sad about the books that they didn't save. but this girls said but think about all the books that we did save . hen alia started thinking about after the war how she was going to design the new library and teach all the new kids and people how to read. as soon as the new library was built they took all the car loads of books back to the library and put them back on the new shelf's the end

  30. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    Genre - nonfiction history reading level - 3rd grade topic and themes - Alia wants to save the books curricula use - guided reading social - war literary elements - conflict between Alia and the upcoming war, irony, imagery, text and pictures - text and pictures connect the story, interesting that it was put together like a comic book summary - Alia is a librarian and there is a war going on in her country. She is worried about the books and the history of her people being lost so she starts removing t Genre - nonfiction history reading level - 3rd grade topic and themes - Alia wants to save the books curricula use - guided reading social - war literary elements - conflict between Alia and the upcoming war, irony, imagery, text and pictures - text and pictures connect the story, interesting that it was put together like a comic book summary - Alia is a librarian and there is a war going on in her country. She is worried about the books and the history of her people being lost so she starts removing the books from the library. She even gets friends to help her and she ends up saving 40,000 books.

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