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Children's Nonfiction Middle East

Children of War

Voices Of Iraqi Refugees

by (author) Deborah Ellis

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Mar 2009
Middle East, Death & Dying, Emigration & Immigration
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2009
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2009
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2009
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 0
  • Grade: p to 12
  • Reading age: 0


USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List

In this book, Deborah Ellis turns her attention to the most tragic victims of the Iraq war -- Iraqi children. She interviews young people, mostly refugees living in Jordan, but also a few who are trying to build new lives in North America. Some families have left Iraq with money; others are penniless and ill or disabled. Most of the children have parents who are working illegally or not at all, and the fear of deportation is a constant threat.

Ellis provides an historical overview and brief explanations of context, but other than that allows the children to speak for themselves, with minimal editorial comment or interference. Their stories are frank, harrowing and sometimes show surprising resilience, as the children try to survive the consequences of a war in which they played no part. A glossary, map and suggestions for further information are included.

About the author

Deborah Ellis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books for children, including The Breadwinner Trilogy; The Heaven Shop; Lunch With Lenin; Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees; and Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS. She has won many national and international awards for her books, including the Governor General’s Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Book for Older Readers.Deborah knew she wanted to be a writer at the age of 11 or 12. Growing up in Paris, Ontario, she loved reading about big cities like New York. In high school, Deborah joined the Peace Movement, playing anti-Nuclear War movies at her school. Since then Deborah has become a peace activist, humanitarian and philanthropist, donating almost all of the royalties from her books to communities in need in Asia and Africa. Heavily involved with Women for Women in Afghanistan, Deborah has helped build women’s centers and schools, giving children education and finding work for women.In 2006, Deborah was named to the Order of Ontario. She now lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Deborah Ellis' profile page


  • Long-listed, OLA Silver Birch Nonfiction Award
  • Commended, USBBY Outstanding International Books

Editorial Reviews

A, this book really helps raise awareness of the vulnerable and heartbreaking situation of refugees, and is likely to inspire social justice-oriented readers to start advocating on their behalf.

...The voices are poignant, insightful, angry and hopeful...Photographs of the interviewes and a glossary round out an important chronicle of war and the world's most vulnerable-the children.

Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

The Stories are poignant, heart wrenching, and ring with truth...†...a starting point for a disscussion on the impact of war on children from the childs perspective.

VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Ellis gives children a voice that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to express so readily in the mainstream media...[Children of War] exposes the complexity of the issues surrounding the war, and discourages any simplistic understandings that her readers may have held about the war's origins...A significant strength of this book is its accessibility for readers of all ages and cultural backgrounds...Highly recommended.

CM Magazine

An important, current title that will have lasting significance.


...there's no real room for doubt that [the children's] grim attitudes...[and] outlook on the future, are painfully authentic.

Bulletin of The Center for Children's Books

A collection of heartrending entries based on interviews with displaced kids...The introduction offers a clear, concise summary of the events...and the photographs accompanying the stories personalize the harrowing plights.

School Library Journal

Eye-opening...unforgettable and thought-provoking...the contrast between the simple language of these child refugees and the horrific events they relate is wrenching.

Quill & Quire

Librarian Reviews

Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees

Listen to the voices of 23 Iraqi children, aged eight to 19, who have fled war and their homes. In their own words, they confide what it means to be a refugee. An introduction offers a historical overview and sets the context for the accounts shared by the children. A glossary, a map and further-information suggestions are included.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists

This is a celebration of the power of one and the accomplishments of nine children who have worked to promote world peace. The young pacifists hail from Canada, Colombia, Liberia, Bosnia, Japan, Great Britain, Cambodia, Afghanistan and the United States. Paintings, poems and colour photos illustrate this inspiring collection.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

Other titles by Deborah Ellis