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  • Writer's pictureMuslim Kids Book Nook

Zenobia by Morten Durr


Title: Zenobia

Author: Morten Durr

Illustrator: Lars Hornman

Publisher: Seven Stories Press

Age: 11 and up


Islamic Content: Muslim characters


Concerns: Sensitive topic



Amina finds herself alone when her parents haven't returned from a daytrip to town. Her neighborhood suddenly is a danger zone. Her uncle instructs her to pack up her things and flee to safety. After dodging through war zones, her uncle sets her up to take a boat trip across the seas, on her own since he managed to cover the costs only for 1 person. In times of distress, Amina remembers her mother's encouraging words to be like Zenobia, the brave Queen and warrior of antient lands of Syria and beyond.



This graphic novel with minimal words has the power to trigger you emotionally and occasionally, gasping for air. I absolutely had no idea what to expect when I put it on hold at the library: 'another refugee story' I assumed. This is an incredibly powerful piece, takes the reader to though Amina's journey of fleeing to safety through her flashbacks. She remembers her helping her mother with cooking, playing hide and seek, fleeing with her uncle when he told her that her parents aren't coming back. Amina's memories and her mothers words serve as an anchor to bring strength and bravery within her in the most dire moments in her life. Through this story, I was introduced to Zenobia and who she was so ended up googling a more about her. About 95% of the story is told only through the illustrations and it requires the reader to study each page slowly to really take it all in. The illustrations and the colour palette used give the dramatic effect this story truly needs. Not all refugees have happy endings and I am so glad this story exits. There are no gory scenes or disturbing depictions however the child's level of sensitivity needs to be taken into consideration. I suggest that the parents go through the book first then decide if this book is for their child.



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