Audience:Juvenile: Age (years) 10 - 14, Grade (CAN) 6 - 9, Grade (US) 6 - 9, Reading age 10 - 14
Dimensions:8in x 5.5 x 0.75 in | 280 gr
Page Count:304 pages
Coming of age against all odds in the midst of the Arab Spring.
Growing up in Aleppo, Yara’s childhood has long been shadowed by the coming revolution. But when the Arab Spring finally arrives at Yara’s doorstep, it is worse than even her Nana imagined: sudden, violent, and deadly. When rescuers dig Yara out from under the rubble that was once her family’s home, she emerges to a changed world. Her parents and Nana are gone, and her brother, Saad, can’t speak—struck silent by everything he’s seen. Now, with her friend Shireen and Shireen’s charismatic brother, Ali, Yara must try to find a way to safety. With danger around every corner, Yara is pushed to her limits as she discovers how far she’ll go for her loved ones—and for a chance for freedom.
Crafted through the focused lens of Jamal Saeed’s own experiences in Syria and brought to life with acclaimed author Sharon E. McKay, Yara’s Spring is a story of coming of age against all odds and the many kinds of love that bloom even in the face of war. Black-and-white interior drawings by award-winning illustrator Nahid Kazemi lend vivid detail to the novel.
*A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Own Voices: fictionalized look at Jamal Saeed's lived experience during the Arab Spring
Debut + veteran author duo: Jamal Saeed worked with bestselling author Sharon McKay to bring this story to life.
Powerful backstory: Jamal Saeed spent 12 years as a prisoner of conscience before escaping to Dubai and eventually moving to Canada. He shared his own experiences and worked with Canadian writer Sharon McKay on this book, hoping that it would help young readers understand the kind of life many Syrian children and teens face today. He shares a deeply personal author’s note outlining his history at the end of Yara’s Spring.
The Syrian Civil War began in 2011 and continues today. Nearly one million people have been displaced by bombing and shelling in northwest Syria just since December according to the UN, adding to the estimated 6 million of people already displaced. Nearly 60% of these displaced people are children.
Spot illustrations: Nahid Kazemi's has illustrated four, full-spread, black and white illustrations. Nahid has received awards for her illustrations and has published more than sixty children's books. She lives in Montreal.
Jamal Saeed spent twelve years as a prisoner of conscience in Syria before being invited to Canada in 2016. He continues to raise awareness about Syria’s ongoing civil war and humanitarian crisis through his work as an activist, editor, visual artist, and author. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.
Sharon E. McKay is the award-winning author of many books based on real events, including War Brothers: The Graphic Novel and Thunder Over Kandahar. She was also named a Canadian War Artist and spent time in Afghanistan embedded with the Canadian troops. She lives in Prince Edward Island.
“Inspired by Saeed’s own experiences . . . Readers are taken inside Syria—and through the emotions of love, loss, and steadfastness.”- Kirkus Reviews, *starred review, 07/28/20
“Remarkable.”- CM Reviews, 06/05/20
“Add this to your must read list.”- Library Matters, 09/07/20
“The narrative is fast-paced and descriptive, and the dialogue so charged with the characters’ emotions that readers will be immediately drawn into Yara’s plight . . . A gripping addition to literature about current refugee experiences.”- Booklist, 10/01/20
“Heartbreaking and hopeful.”- Canadian Children’s Book News, *starred review, Fall/20
“Well written and a must-read.”- Libris Notes, 02/03/21
“Extremely dramatic and high energy . . . Very well written.”- Reformed Librarians Together, 09/21