Zenobia
Zenobia
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Annotation: When the Syrian war reaches Amina's village she is forced to escape, and during her perilous journey she thinks of the brave warrior Zenobia to remind her to stay strong.
Catalog Number: #167783
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Horneman, Lars,
Pages: 93 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-609-80873-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-609-80873-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018026406
Dimensions: 25 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Vast open water. An overcrowded boat. A horrific storm. A girl plunges backwards into the violent waves. Wishing, dreaming of rescue, Amina conjures happier moments playing hide-and-seek. "I am right here, Mama," she thinks. She remembers making dolmas, salty like seawater d tears. She recalls the inspiring adventures of Syrian warrior queen Zenobia. She relives the dangerous journey with her uncle to the sea, while Zenobia's invincible spirit buoys her. Dürr, an award-winning Danish writer of more than 50 titles, makes his North American debut here, and his sparse, sharp text is wondrously visualized by prodigious compatriot Horneman. Horneman's palettes are especially effective, with blue and blue-greens bookending Amina's watery fall and browns and black to capture an already quickly fading past. Only Zenobia's panels glow in a saturated salmon, as if trying to keep hope alive. Wrenchingly compelling is Horneman's use of separated panels: for example, Amina in her mother's arms is sliced into three boxes. Inevitably, tragedy looms. An award-winner in Denmark, its creators' homeland, Zenobia? will undoubtedly find empathetic stateside audiences.
Horn Book
Alternating between past and present, this spare, haunting graphic novel, translated from the Danish, follows child Amina from her war-torn Syrian village to the refugee boat she boards without her uncle (they could afford only one ticket). Amina's memories merge with the present as the boat capsizes and she drowns. Silhouettes and shadows add texture and tone to Horneman's clear line work, while large panels and cinematic angles control reading pace.
Kirkus Reviews
A young Syrian refugee tries to flee the horrors of war in this Danish import. In this nearly wordless graphic novel, Amina is a young Syrian girl living in the midst of violent conflict. Instructed by her parents to wait as they venture out for help, she remains home for days when they don't come back, as the tanks and fighter planes thunder around her small home. An uncle arrives to inform her that her parents will not be returning and she must leave immediately. With only enough money for a single passage, Amina finds herself alone on an overcrowded boat. In one heart-stopping moment, the congested vessel capsizes, throwing her overboard. While descending into the waves, she recalls happy memories of her parents, playing hide-and-seek and making sarmas with her mother. She also remembers their stories of Zenobia, an ancient Syrian queen who defeated the Romans, and the strength that she signifies. Amina's journey is tragic and will leave readers with much to reflect upon and discuss. Horneman's large, compelling, and evocative panels brilliantly portray Amina's struggles, infusing recollections of joy into moments of terror. Panels alternate between past and present, with the past rendered in a two-color earth-toned scheme and the present depicted in vivid full color. Deceptively spare, this timely and important offering is a must-read, helping bring greater understanding and empathy to a situation that for many feels far away. Graphic storytelling at its most powerful. (Graphic fiction. 8-14)
Publishers Weekly
Global news stories have brought urgent attention to the Syrian children who have drowned as they fled their war-ravaged country; this bleak, skillfully crafted graphic novel, translated from the Danish, personalizes the headlines by imagining one child-s experience. In an opening scene, a boat perilously overfilled with refugees floats on a calm sea. Then a storm arrives, the waves surge, and a girl is flung into open water. As she begins to descend, she revisits scenes from her desperate journey: sparse wartime meals, her parents- disappearance, and her terrifying, multi-day walk to the sea, where her uncle places her on board the dangerously packed vessel. Along the way, she finds courage and comfort by considering her mother-s stories of Zenobia, an ancient Syrian queen. Dürr uses few words, allowing Horneman-s uncluttered panels to tell most of the heartrending story. Indicating past and present, land and sea with skillful palette shifts, Horneman provides just enough detail to evoke the grim contexts while keeping readers focused on the child. The combined restraint of both the pictures and words powerfully amplifies the astonishing tragedy of the girl-s fate, creating an unforgettable story that will stay with teens and adults alike. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 68 As Amina, a young Syrian refugee journeying by sea, is thrown off a boat by a huge wave and sinks into the deep water, she reflects on what brought her here. She remembers playing hide-and-seek and making dolmas with her mother. Her parents left, saying they would be home soon, and her mother reminded her to be strong like Zenobia, the queen of Syria in the old days. When her parents didn't return, her uncle took her away. Scenes of Amina in the water are illustrated in full color, while her memories are depicted in sepia tones, and striking hues of peach and indigo are used for the story of Zenobia. The comic alternates between large panels and full-page illustrations and is paired with spare text, making it a quick read. Owing to the difference in lengths between the Danish and English translations, some text boxes contain extra white space. Readers may not feel that invested in this moving but slight narrative. There's little context about the war in Syria, but educators might want to use the book as a jumping-off point for a more detailed discussion. The tale ends on a hopeless note that may be upsetting to sensitive readers. VERDICT Pair with Eoin Colfer's Illegal to start a dialogue on refugees and immigration. Jenna Friebel, Oak Park Public Library, IL
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A young Syrian refugee tries to flee the horrors of war in this Danish import. In this nearly wordless graphic novel, Amina is a young Syrian girl living in the midst of violent conflict. Instructed by her parents to wait as they venture out for help, she remains home for days when they don't come back, as the tanks and fighter planes thunder around her small home. An uncle arrives to inform her that her parents will not be returning and she must leave immediately. With only enough money for a single passage, Amina finds herself alone on an overcrowded boat. In one heart-stopping moment, the congested vessel capsizes, throwing her overboard. While descending into the waves, she recalls happy memories of her parents, playing hide-and-seek and making sarmas with her mother. She also remembers their stories of Zenobia, an ancient Syrian queen who defeated the Romans, and the strength that she signifies. Amina's journey is tragic and will leave readers with much to reflect upon and discuss. Horneman's large, compelling, and evocative panels brilliantly portray Amina's struggles, infusing recollections of joy into moments of terror. Panels alternate between past and present, with the past rendered in a two-color earth-toned scheme and the present depicted in vivid full color. Deceptively spare, this timely and important offering is a must-read, helping bring greater understanding and empathy to a situation that for many feels far away. Graphic storytelling at its most powerful. (Graphic fiction. 8-14)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (1/1/19)
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (9/1/18)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Lexile: GN410L

A deeply moving and award-winning graphic novel about a young Syrian refugee.

Zenobia was once a great warrior queen of Syria whose reign reached from Egypt to Turkey. She was courageous. No one gave her orders. Once she even went to war against the emperor of Rome.
     When things feel overwhelming for Amina, her mother reminds her to think of Zenobia and be strong. Amina is a Syrian girl caught up in a war that reaches her village. To escape the war she boards a small boat crammed with other refugees. The boat is rickety and the turbulent seas send Amina overboard. In the dark water Amina remembers playing hide and seek with her mother and making dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and the journey she had to undertake with her uncle to escape. And she thinks of the brave warrior Zenobia.
Zenobia is a heartbreaking and all-too-real story of one child's experience of war. Told with great sensitivity in few words and almost exclusively with pictures, Zenobia is a story for children and adults.


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