The Day War Came is a heartbreaking story. And an important one.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me this review copy.

Title: The Day War Came
Author: Nicola Davis
Illustrator: Rebecca Cobb
Source: Candlewick Press for review

This heartbreaking story follows the path of a young girl whose town is destroyed by war.

The day starts like any other, with breakfast around the table and Dad singing her baby brother back to sleep. Then after a completely normal day at school learning about tadpoles and singing songs about birds, the war comes.

It destroys her school, and when she makes her way home she sees that it has been destroyed too. Her family is gone. She is all alone.

She joins a group of people fleeing the violence and seeking a new place to build their lives. But there is no one to take care of her. They journey for ages and eventually get on a boat that starts sinking just offshore. She makes it to land, but there are some who don’t.

She finds an empty spot on the floor of a makeshift shelter, and curls up under a dirty blanket. The war is still in her heart.

She tries to forget by wandering the streets but the people close their doors and their hearts.

When she finds a school, and looks inside and sees children learning and singing, she wants to be with them. But the teachers turns her away and says there are no chairs for her.

Defeated, she goes back to hide under the dirty blanket. But then she hears a noise. It is a child, with a chair just for her.

She walks out to see dozens of children with chairs for all the refugee children, and walks together with them into a new life.

My daughter and I read this book together, and with today being Remembrance Day it was the perfect time to discuss it. Because although today is historic since it marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice, there are millions of people for whom war is not history.

We spoke about why people go to war. And about how many people are killed. About how people want to run away from it to be safe, and about how since we are so lucky to live in a place without war, we need to help everyone we can.

Even though this was heavy subject matter for my little six-year-old, it is important for her to learn empathy for people who have gone through so much. The pictures and text imply things rather than showing them outright, and there’s nothing graphic or disturbing. This leaves the level of discussion up to the parent’s discretion based on their child’s understanding and readiness.

I highly recommend The Day War Came as a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to talk about war with children.

If you want to help, consider going to www.helprefugees.com to learn more about how you can make a difference.