|Cat man of Aleppo|
Author: Latham, Irene
The courageous and true story of Alaa Aljaleel, who in the midst of the Syrian Civil War took care of Aleppo's abandoned cats.
|Added Entry - Personal Name:||Shamsi-Basha, Karim|
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.60
Points: .5 Quiz: 510187
Caldecott Honor, 2021
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/01/20)
School Library Journal (04/01/20)
Booklist (+) (02/01/20)
The Hornbook (00/03/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2020 *Starred Review* The ongoing civil war in Syria has brought devastation for almost a decade now, and this picture-book collaboration relates that tragedy through the hopeful and incredible true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel. When the war came to Aleppo, many people fled and were forced to leave behind their animals. Alaa, an ambulance driver, began feeding the stranded cats of his abandoned neighborhood, and their numbers quickly multiplied. One social media movement later, he was able to build an animal sanctuary, as well as offer other services for local human survivors. The story of the Cat Man of Aleppo is remarkable in its own right, but it also serves as a bridge between the harsh reality in Syria and young American students, with the cats serving as a more approachable—and relatable—proxy for the people suffering in the background. Shimizu’s lifelike illustrations capture the joy and beauty prior to the war, juxtaposing it with the horror and grief that followed. A trio of early spreads depict the trauma, violence, and mass destruction, though there is no gore, and what follows is a purely hopeful tale of love for one’s homeland. What a relief to see Middle Easterners depicted as recognizably modern people—through their clothing, technology, and so on—rather than religious caricatures or characters from Aladdin. A safe, sobering, and hopeful introduction to the crisis in Syria. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2020 K-Gr 3—The power of one person's kindness and commitment to others is a potent message. Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel's life is "a story about cats and war and people. But most of all, it is a story about love." In this book based on an actual person and real events, Latham tells the tale of an ambulance driver who chose to stay in his hometown of Aleppo, Syria, even after war broke out. He begins to come across hungry, lonely cats as he drives his ambulance. With what little money he has, he buys scraps of meat to feed the animals; he extends his efforts to other animals and children as well. With international support, Mohammad creates a sanctuary from war's devastation for animals and children. The straightforward telling is accompanied by graphically strong illustrations. The art depicts war-torn streets, bombed buildings, and great sadness but also playful cats and smiling children who have been helped by Mohammad. Notes from both authors and the illustrator provide a glimpse into the book's inspiration and the research that went into the art. VERDICT A useful addition to school and public libraries to inform and to spark discussion about war, individual potential, and kindness to animals.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.