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The Adventures of Laila and Ahmed in Syria is the first book in an upcoming children’s series focused on countries we tend to associate with conflict. It is the tale of two curious children who find themselves exploring the beautiful landscapes and landmarks of pre-war Syria. Although it is about Syria, this book isn’t a story of war or violence. If anything, it’s a love s The Adventures of Laila and Ahmed in Syria is the first book in an upcoming children’s series focused on countries we tend to associate with conflict. It is the tale of two curious children who find themselves exploring the beautiful landscapes and landmarks of pre-war Syria. Although it is about Syria, this book isn’t a story of war or violence. If anything, it’s a love story dedicated to Syria, written and illustrated to pay tribute to the heritage and humanity that is so often missing from the popular narrative about conflict-stricken countries.


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The Adventures of Laila and Ahmed in Syria is the first book in an upcoming children’s series focused on countries we tend to associate with conflict. It is the tale of two curious children who find themselves exploring the beautiful landscapes and landmarks of pre-war Syria. Although it is about Syria, this book isn’t a story of war or violence. If anything, it’s a love s The Adventures of Laila and Ahmed in Syria is the first book in an upcoming children’s series focused on countries we tend to associate with conflict. It is the tale of two curious children who find themselves exploring the beautiful landscapes and landmarks of pre-war Syria. Although it is about Syria, this book isn’t a story of war or violence. If anything, it’s a love story dedicated to Syria, written and illustrated to pay tribute to the heritage and humanity that is so often missing from the popular narrative about conflict-stricken countries.

19 review for The Adventures of Laila and Ahmed in Syria

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    Picture A441a 2018

  2. 4 out of 5

    Assia

    I loved this book because it does the work the Media do not want to do. Beauty beneath the rubble is a platform aiming at changing the narrative around countries in conflict through storytelling. The media will only feed us and our children the war-ravaged villages type of representation and this has got to change because these countries are more than that. They have a beautiful culture and history that people must be aware of. Especially our children. I hadn't thought of it before, almost took I loved this book because it does the work the Media do not want to do. Beauty beneath the rubble is a platform aiming at changing the narrative around countries in conflict through storytelling. The media will only feed us and our children the war-ravaged villages type of representation and this has got to change because these countries are more than that. They have a beautiful culture and history that people must be aware of. Especially our children. I hadn't thought of it before, almost took it for granted but I grew up in a household where the only channels we would watch on TV were Arab channels, from Syrian and Khaleeji dramas to Egyptian movies to North African comedies and shows. My favorite things to watch were historical dramas (الزير سالم / صلاح الدين الأيوبي if you know these two historical dramas then you are the best!!) so I got to know other Arab countries and their history through Arab representation on TV (much better than NCIS and Homeland - not that I wanted to state the obvious) . But today our children are most likely to see images to refugees camps, of destroyed villages, of ruins. And that's the only thing Western media is going to feed them. While this is true, it is important to keep a balanced narrative and teach them about the culture and traditions of a country, to show them historical places and tell them about historical figures. . And that's what Laila and Ahmed, the grandchildren of Ibn Battuta (a historical figure) are doing! Walking on the path of their grandfather their first stop is Syria. They discover the diverse facets of Syria, meet people, all of it while solving clues to their next destination! Once again the illustrations are beyond beautiful I was mesmerized, wowed by every illustrated scene and had a blessed moment of happiness reading this book! I was even a tad bit jealous of Laila and Ahmed to be completely honest with you 😂 . Now I wonder what their next adventure will take place! I enjoy reading this book to my niece even if she doesn't get a single word of English yet for now we play at spotting Laila and Ahmed which is fun enough for her. But I know that these beautiful illustrations will be the first she will think of at the mention of Syria! . . . Thanks to the publishers for the RC, this is an honest review❤

  3. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    🌴A ✨magic✨ carpet tour of Syria's treasures minus the carpet! May 12, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition 🌴 I found this author's plot format -- a ✨magical treasure hunt that takes 👫brother and sister to the wonders of Syria's history -- a great way to get a child caught up in the narrative as each treasure reveals a clue to the next. Each site visited is described in brief, which seemed very appropriate for the suggested reading age group. Syria's quintessential traditional foods, including dates, pistach 🌴A ✨magic✨ carpet tour of Syria's treasures minus the carpet! May 12, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition 🌴 I found this author's plot format -- a ✨magical treasure hunt that takes 👫brother and sister to the wonders of Syria's history -- a great way to get a child caught up in the narrative as each treasure reveals a clue to the next. Each site visited is described in brief, which seemed very appropriate for the suggested reading age group. Syria's quintessential traditional foods, including dates, pistachios and camel's milk, delight Laila and her bottomless pit brother along the way. The story also teaches that teamwork leads to success as the children work together to solve the clues. Laila shows a bit of jealousy that her younger brother, who never wanted to go on the adventure in the first place, is so good at finding clues, and I must admit that for a while I feared that Ahmed would take all the glory, but the author allowed each of them to shine and demonstrate their strengths. A nice, simple geography and culture lesson about a world that may not last. I read a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This lovely book, beautifully illustrated by Shadia Kassem, is part of the Beauty Beneath the Rubble series, teaching about what countries had to offer before becoming war zones, their cultures and beauty. I think this is a great idea, and the book certainly achieves this aim, taking you on a whistle-stop tour of the country and all it has to offer. As an adult I enjoyed reading it and it definitely increases my knowledge of Syria. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to increase their cultural This lovely book, beautifully illustrated by Shadia Kassem, is part of the Beauty Beneath the Rubble series, teaching about what countries had to offer before becoming war zones, their cultures and beauty. I think this is a great idea, and the book certainly achieves this aim, taking you on a whistle-stop tour of the country and all it has to offer. As an adult I enjoyed reading it and it definitely increases my knowledge of Syria. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to increase their cultural and historical knowledge of the world, whatever their age, and I hope more like it are released. NB I received a complimentary copy of this book, but I always give an HONEST review based wholly on my own opinions

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    The Adventures of Laila and Ahmed in Syria is an exciting and lyrical adventure story that showcases beautiful sights in Syria using full-color illustrations. Shaped like a picture book but divided into sixteen chapters, it has pages of illustrations and pages of text in columns. It is published by the Beauty Beneath the Rubble initiative, which aims to “change the narrative of countries associated with war and conflict.” One morning while their parents are out, Laila and Ahmed find their grandfa The Adventures of Laila and Ahmed in Syria is an exciting and lyrical adventure story that showcases beautiful sights in Syria using full-color illustrations. Shaped like a picture book but divided into sixteen chapters, it has pages of illustrations and pages of text in columns. It is published by the Beauty Beneath the Rubble initiative, which aims to “change the narrative of countries associated with war and conflict.” One morning while their parents are out, Laila and Ahmed find their grandfather's special book about his travels all over the world. Their grandfather was Ibn Battuta (yes! that one), and his book was, of course, Rihla. When they open it to look at the drawings, stories, and maps, they find a note addressed to themselves. In it, their grandfather urges them to see the world and offers them a clue to get them started on their journey. Before they can decipher the first clue, a strange light envelopes the book and it grows and grows until it is the size of a door in the wall. The door opens onto a whole new world. They walk through it and find themselves in Syria. Throughout the rest of the book, the two children journey from city to city, seeing famous landmarks, buildings, and curiosities, all while looking for their grandfather's next clue. I loved the celebration of all of these places. They go to a castle, the Great Mosque of Aleppo, and Souq al-Madinah. They see the waterwheels at Hama, the oasis of Palmyra, and the Church of St. Sergius. Their journey ends in Damascus. These days, when most people think of Syria, the picture that comes to mind is the most recent shot of rubble that they've seen on the news. This book challenges that perception and reminds readers of the beauty of this country, which has a rich culture and history. I do wish that the castle that was their first stop had been named: I'm sure Syria has many castles, and I'm not sure which one I read about. I really appreciate the fact that a map appears before the story. Being able to trace Laila and Ahmed's journey on the map was invaluable. It helped me show my seven-year-old that all of the places Laila and Ahmed visited were in Syria. He read the book on his own as soon as it arrived, and he promptly declared that it was "the best book [he] ever read." When I prompted him for more information, he gave me a detailed synopsis of how Laila and Ahmed's journey began. He said that they went "all over," and he somehow missed the fact that their journey took place exclusively in Syria and not all over the world. Being able to trace Laila and Ahmed's journey on the map helped him center their journey in Syria. As for his comment that it was the best book he ever read, he really liked reading a chapter book in picture book format. Something that I found odd about this story is that while Laila and Ahmed recognize some of the places they visit from their grandfather's book and from his stories, they don't recognize much, if any, of the context from their own heritage Arab and Muslim identity. For example, Laila has to explain what the adhan is to Ahmed. How has he never heard the adhan before? It also would have been nice to see them reconnecting with familiar foods in a new context in Syria instead of approaching everything as if they were tourists. I highly recommend this book to all parents, librarians, and teachers. This book is not only a cute story but can also be a great resource for students of geography, social studies, and current events. It is a beautiful reminder of some of what is at stake in the conflict, and I highly recommend it. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maryam

  7. 4 out of 5

    Morgana Santilli

  8. 4 out of 5

    morrisonfamily

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Butts

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melodie Pearse

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Sherwood

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen high Davis

  13. 5 out of 5

    Baió

  14. 5 out of 5

    Debra Hines

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tabitha Elizabeth

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Fletcher

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hanifa

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bailey

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