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The Day War Came
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The Day War Came

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  442 ratings  ·  120 reviews
A moving, poetic narrative and child-friendly illustrations follow the heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful journey of a little girl who is forced to become a refugee.

The day war came there were flowers on the windowsill and my father sang my baby brother back to sleep.

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came t
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Candlewick Press
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4.53  · 
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 ·  442 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Whispering Stories
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Book Reviewed by Stacey on

After finishing this book I sat and thought for a while about how I felt about the story. I love the idea of the book and what Ms. Davies has tried to achieve with her words, alongside the illustrations by Rebecca Cobb. However, I can’t say I feel the message will be understood properly by the ages of the children the book is aimed at.

Let me explain. We first meet a little girl who is happy at home with her family, mum, dad and baby brother. Sh
David Schaafsma

The Day the War Came is a picture book featuring a poem written by Nicola Davies in response to the UK refusing to give sanctuary to 3000 unaccompanied child refugees. Beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, it tells the story of a little girl having breakfast with her parents and little sister on the day the war came. Then she goes to school and learns about volcanoes and draws a bird and then the war came in the form of bombs blasting her former life away. Everything changes, of co
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Hilary by: Found in the library
Shelves: war
I'm giving 2 stars as this book is aimed at young children, preschool I would guess but I feel the subject matter is too disturbing for that age group. A young girl is shown living with her happy family and then war comes to the place she where lives,after an explosion the school chairs fly through the air, she crawls through rubble and burning buildings. She is shown alone and frightened, walking through streets alone, being turned away from a school, hiding under a rug in a ruin. Then a child ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A simply told yet powerful picture book about the innocence of childhood and a world torn apart by the advent of war. This is all about the loss of the world that we once new, the loss of family and the difficult journey of a refugee traveling towards a new country.

'The Day War Came' is about the real human cost of war through the eyes of innocence, through the eyes of a child - it's about the search to find welcome. This is a well written, moving and important book - it's a story about toleranc
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A devastating book that does a beautiful job of illustrating how war can come to anyone at any time and what that must be like. A devastating book to help develop understanding and open hearts.

This poem was originally written in response to a story of a refugee child who wasn't accepted into a school because there wasn't an available chair for her. (See #3000 chairs referring to the UK refusing to give sanctuary to 3000 child refugees.)

"Recently the United States limited the annual number of re
Ellie Labbett
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Words are not enough to describe how affecting this story was for me. I am utterly overwhelmed by Davies and Cobb’s destructive depiction of the arrival of war. Told from the perspective of a child who loses everything and everyone. War takes it all, along with a part of herself that will never be regained. This happens on an ordinary day and could have happened anywhere- life is so fragile and easily torn apart. There is a devastatingly powerful partnership between words and illustrations in th ...more
Goodness me this poetic picture book is so moving. It is dark, as it should be, but ultimately tells an uplifting and hopeful message.

War has struck. A little girl is no longer welcome at school. She is the same as all the other little boys and girls inside, but the teacher will not let her in. There is no chair for her to sit on. She is not the first, or last, little girl for this to happen to. But she should be, and she could be, if more people take the time to read stories, poems, or message
Christina Reid
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book should be in every classroom! It does such a good job of introducing children to issues they may be hearing about in the media and humanise the individuals who are suffering from the effects of war, rather than lump them all together under the label of 'the refugee crisis'. It is based on a poem, originally written by the author in response to hearing of refugee children being turned away from schools because there were no seats for them in the already-full classrooms.
People don't ask
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it

Such a powerful picture book.


This book tells the story of a small girl who lives quite happily with her family until the day the war comes. Then her life is turned upside down. Her classroom is destroyed and her town is turned into rubble. She has nothing left, no family, no home and she begins the treacherous journey to find somewhere safe to stay. She crosses over roads, fields and mountains and travels in trucks, buses and a boat that almost sinks until she reac
Monica Williams
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolute killer. Keep the tissues nearby. So simple and so incredibly sad. If you could ever say there is a good book to introduce the concept of war and refugees to children it would be this one. Heartbreaking. Be sure to read the afterword.
Ushnav Shroff
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sweet and painful, Nicola Davies' prose dances all night long with Rebecca Cobb's illustrations in this graphic book that was originally a poem. The ending, while hopeful, only presents a stark picture of what kids and adults alike suffer when war tears apart holes in their lives.
Edward Sullivan
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A poignant refugee story gracefully written with child-friendly illustrations.
Raven Black
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a five not because it is the best book ever or I'm "OMG FAV of all time" But because it is different. The subject has been done before (refugee children, how they struggle, etc) but this is not preachy, "in your face" or about one group of people. You can assume Syrian due to the illustrations, but it really could be anytime or any place. And it showing it in a mature way from the eyes of a child. At the end, there is a comment about refugees today and what countries are and are not doin ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, children, cybils
Bravo, Nicola Davies, for taking on a difficult subject and making it accessible to children. Here in America we are far from war, but it is not so in many places in other parts of the world. What must it be like to go to school, studying tadpoles and drawing birds, and suddenly find yourself alone amid the rubble that was once your home? That's the story Davies shares, and it's a worthy story, gently told despite its horrifying subject matter, a story that needs to be shared with our insulated ...more
Maggi Rohde
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
No punches pulled here. This is the impact war has on small children all over the world.
Nick Swarbrick
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The protagonist’s expression, the symbolism of chairs, the role of education as providing stability... Gosh, this is a powerful little book, in which the children’s compassion provides both a resolution and a challenge. Simple, moving, cleverly told.
Maggie Hesseling
Gut-wrenching and hopeful, this strong and beautifully illustrated book really puts you in the world of a child who has been displaced by war. Especially with the way that our world is changing so fast due to conflict, this picture book really does help open eyes. There are a multitude of people who I would confront with this picture book, but equally, give to those who think that there is no hope.

Is easy to see these events as those that happen to other people. But it is with books such as the
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this, in that aching joy and sorrow way that comes with all my favorite picture books. The prose was sparse but beautiful, and the illustrations were both lovely and haunting. This would be a good book to read with a child to inspire discussion about war, safety, and kindness. I already need to read it again.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories About War & Refugees
British children's author and poet Nicola Davies turns to the difficult subjects of war and refugees in this powerful picture-book, which takes as its text the poem on the subject that Davies first published in The Guardian. Describing the life of a young girl, and how it is interrupted by war, the narrative follows its subject as she flees across land and sea, eventually coming to an unwelcoming place. Will she ever find a home again - will she ever live somewhere that war doesn't permeate life ...more
Published in association with Help Refugees, Nicola Davies shares a poem she wrote when she learned that 3,000 unaccompanied children had been turned away by the U.K. In an author's note, she adds that there are 22.5 million refugees in the world and over half are children. This story/poem tells of a young girl who went to school one morning only to have 'war come' after a few hours. Her town is bombed; her own home destroyed. She is the only one left in her family, so she runs. The story is bri ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loss, war, refugee
I think this book is the hardest book I've read for a long long time, told by a child it details how quickly war can enter your life and the destruction it continues to bring with it.
This book started as a poem by Davies and was published on the Guardian's newspaper website before being turned into a picture book. Visit to learn more about their work and how you can help support refugees and children across the world.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truly one of the more heartbreaking picture books I can remember reading, and I think very important. Obliquely about the Syrian refugee crisis, I thought it was interesting that the main character was clearly brown but lacked any clear cultural or religious markers that would signal difference to Western, Christian children.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This picture book is a reaction to a British event in 2016 when 3000 unaccompanied refugee children were denied sanctuary and a story of one child who couldn't attend a school because there was no chair available. Nicola Davies and Rebecca Cobb have presented the story of one child, through her eyes, of the coming of war during a normal school day and the telling aftermath of loss, destruction, aloneness and isolation. The explanatory text at the end provides the background for creating this sto ...more
Aliza Werner
First written as a poem and then turned into this heartbreaking, breathtaking book. Add to your text sets on refugees.
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Moving and beautiful and haunting and stunning. This book is simply incredible.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is devastating and made me cry but it is so important and sparked a real conversation with my daughter.
Christie Angleton
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lisa Mcbroom
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
How the Devestation of war affects a young child.
This is an interesting book with a great message. ‘The Day the War Came’ is around A4 in size and is a hardback book with thick matt pages inside with some lovely colourful images inside and text. This story of this book is an important one to share with children although they may not fully understand it without some help. The book begins with the little girl sitting at home with her family. We never know the girls name but she narrates the story. As the girl goes to school she does things that ...more
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