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Sami and the Time of the Troubles
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Sami and the Time of the Troubles

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A ten-year-old Lebanese boy balances his life in a war-torn city.
Paperback, 40 pages
Published September 18th 1995 by Clarion Books (first published 1992)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  133 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a powerful short story presented as a picture book. It shows the tumultuous times families have to hide and try to survive in the basements between the bombings and unrest.

Sami's father died during such a bombing and his family's trying their best to see a better tomorrow in the hope that things would turn better.

The artwork is so beautiful! Watercolour illustrations like this are rare to come across. Love it.

Such a good storybook.

Why are we still living under such fears?

It's high time we
Oct 17, 2013 added it
So I'm a young Lebanese woman who was born the year the war ended and who's been hearing about the "Time of the Troubles" her whole life. Somehow, I did not relate to this story at all. Sami does not sound like a ten-year old Lebanese boy, especially not one who is living through a war. He sounds too childish and oblivious. The redeeming feature of this book are the illustrations. They carry a much more powerful message than the text ever could and do a much better job of telling the story. In f ...more
Peace Teachpeacenow
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully illustrated, but relatively dark, painful story sheds light on what it is to live through a war. Although it is set in Beirut, Lebanon, the location matters less than the graphic images of people struggling to live in a time of war, as they hide from the bombs, and remain hopeful. A good book to start a discussion on the negative impacts of war.

Recommended for upper elementary and middle school
Library Lady Terri
I struggle with 2 Americans writing about a young boy living in Beirut in the 80s struggling with bombings although this book does give a glimpse into these situations.

In regards to this books inclusion on the Give Your Child the World list, there has to be a book that gives a more up to date picture of life in Lebanon.
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a powerful book of war set in in Lebanon. It demonstrates both the fear and sadness of children in times of war but also their resiliency. My son attentively listened in search for understanding as I turned the pages. We had a conversation about the book, war and how lucky we are to feel as safe as we do in our home.
Jenna Dillon
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fluent-catalog
Brief Summary: A ten-year-old Lebanese boy balances his life in a war-torn city. He talks about what life is like hiding in the basement, only being allowed to enter into the fresh air once in a while because of the war. This book talks about responsibility of children, and the importance of family in hard times such as these.

Genre: historical fiction
Reading Level: This book is best for fluent readers because of the amount of text on each page. The font is small and the space between the words i
Oct 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: catalog
Summary: A ten-year-old Lebanese boy balances his life in a war-torn city. He and his family live in the basement of his Uncles house, only coming out of the house to get some fresh air when the bombs are not going off. The boy's mother tries to make her family as comfortable as possible by placing treasured items on the walls of their basement, make-shift home. The children are allowed outside once in a while when it's safe and they play amongst the rubble of what there town used to be before t ...more
Britt Kitko
Summary: A ten-year-old Lebanese boy balances his life in a war-torn city. Him and his family live in the basement of his Uncles house and can only come out when the bombs are not going off. His mother tries to make everyone as comfortable as possible by placing treasured items on the walls of the basement. The children are allowed outside when it is safe and they play amongst the rubble that the bombs have caused.

- Reading level- Transitional
- Genre-Fiction
- Topic- War, togetherness,
While the watercolors are wonderfully expressive and interweave well with the story, I'm a bit ambivalent on this text. It's immensely dark and feels hopeless, two characteristics that don't meld together well in my mind for a children's picturebook. I honestly wasn't sure where this was supposed to be taking place specifically until I read the end notes, which revealed the location was Lebanon, Beirut. The mother comes across as being the third child in the family at times, and there is a lot o ...more
Corby Lancaster
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lled-402-catalog
Genre- Picture book

Reading Level- 2nd-4th grade

Topic and Themes- Family and how they deal with the consequences of war. War

Curricula Use- Independent reading

Social- War and how a family is affected by the war.

Literary Elements- A family impacted by a war that is going on. The family has to live in the basement. They are not able to go out until it is all quiet.

Text and Pictures- The text and pictures go together to tell the story.

Summary- "Sami and the time of Troubles" is an excellent book to s
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
genre - fiction

reading level - 1st and 2nd grade

topic and themes - how Sami and his family have to live in their basement during a war and get very little
time to go outside

curricula use - guided reading, and independent reading

social - war, poverty

literary elements - symbolism, conflict with nature

text and pictures - the pictures add detail to the story, so much in fact that I think you could tell the story without the text

Summary - Thought this was a great book about what some children actuall
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catalog-1
Genre- Picture Book

Reading Level- K-4

Topic and Theme- historical context, story about a family living through the violence of war

Curricula Use- Read aloud

Literary elements: Setting integral to theme and plot development, illustrations serve to develop and extend plot and theme, dialogue contributes to character development

Social- The effects of war on civilians and their surroundings

Summary- Sami and his family live in a war torn city in the basement of their home. Sami's mother attempts to keep
Shannon Amici
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 402-catalog
Reading level- 1-3


Topic- Sami and his family are living during a war. Shows what daily life might be like during a war.

Social- War and poverty

Curricula Use-guided reading

Literary elements- symbolism

Text and pictures- the pictures in this story are fabulous. They help tell the story so much that it might be meaningless without them.

Summary- Sami and his family are living during a war. They live in a basement and can only go outside when it is safe; which is rare. Gives a good idea a
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books

If the book was supposed to be optimistic, I didn’t pick up on that.

My takeaway was a crushing sense of pessimism that all wars are the same and the only sane response from those most affected and least able to change things is to LEAVE.

Of course, I say this as an American who grew up being told about immigrant ancestors whose response to war and troubles was to hitch a ride on the first boat they could catch, which, comparing my life with nightly news footage about continuing troubles in coun
Feb 17, 2009 added it
Shelves: middle-east
I thought this book was a good example of what daily life must be like when you are growing up in a country at war. I thought the overarching message about how working for peace is more important that all else was a powerful message. The book does not try to explain how one side has been wronged, or describe inequalities between the waring nations, instead the message is about being apart of a peaceful solution.
Patrick Stoner
Mar 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is one that is disappointing and sad. Although some children may not be able to relate, it is difficult to see children who can't be free to play or even go outside due to war or the fear of being injured. It is depressing and should give children the sense of thankfulness because they aren't held to such restrictions. This book teaches a good lesson and should be used in the classroom.
Shawn Cunningham
Apr 30, 2009 rated it liked it
The book tells of a young boy in a war-torn country and what he is able to do on a daily basis. The book opens your eyes to how life really is for those caught up in a war.

Author: Florence Heide and Judith Gilliland
Illustrator: Ted Lewin
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: 1992

Audience: young children 5 - 10yrs.
specific use: group reading
social issues: how war affects a child's life.
literacy elements: determination
genre: children's
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sami and his family live in an unnamed war-torn country. He and his little sister, his mother and uncle and grandfather, huddle in the basement around the radio, waiting for the bombing to stop. Beautiful book to show how war affects the lives of children, told from the point of view of a boy who realizes that peace will come again one day, and he may be one of the ones who has to march for peace. Really lovely, with Lewin's beautiful art.
The Styling Librarian
After reading this book, my son said "Mommy, this was really really sad. Why would people have to hide in a basement to be safe all the time?" We talked about Lebanon, Beirut, and hope for the future with peace for people living happily in homes able to go to the beach when they like. Beautiful book which is really quite a serious one to read to children. I'd read it with Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting, perfect partner book.
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-s
I cried a lot and had a hard time keeping an even voice while reading this book to my young daughter. The story had an added depth for me since we are living in a time of troubles in Egypt. The events here are not like those described in this book, not for us anyhow. But I can easily imagine that in some places in Egypt, where the violence has been bad, that there are children who feel as Sami does, and that is heartbreaking.
Linzi Wilkinson
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading-catalog
Genre: Fiction

Reading Level: grade 1-3

Topics & Themes: This book is set during war time. The children seek shelter in their basement when they hear the gunfire and bombs.

Curricular Use:read aloud, guided reading

Social: Conflict, war, poverty

Literary Elements: symbolism, conflict

Text & Pictures:The pictures in this text are beautiful. They are what tell the story.
Dec 06, 2012 added it
Shelves: picture-books
3-4th grade. I liked that this book was about African Folklore and incorporated song. The illustrations were well down and used a variety of pastels. Yet I wish the author would have brought out more fear in the main character as the pick the lions whisker. The book seemed very authentic for a multi-cultural book.
Carolyn Cook
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations and texts work well together to depict life for children in the war-torn country of Lebanon. The everyday life events and the bombing attack make this the times of the troubles for Sami and his family. The ray of hope for the future is found in the children.
Sep 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
My son and I read this book together several years ago when he was taking reading tests for school. It handled the disturbing topic of war well; it was sad and scary, but still managed to end with hope.
Kerri Harshaw
Book about the Lebanon Civil War from a young boy's point of view. Young boy spends much of his time in a basement with his family to keep safe from the fighting right outside his home. A great book with amazing pictures to help describe the tribulations of the citizens during the war.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Text and very appropriate treatment for children

I liked very much realistic painting
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this book was a very good book
expecially for younger children

it shows that being in a war or anything isnt good for your country
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mommy says: A child's perspective of living through the fighting in Beirut, Lebanon. The boy's father's death is mentioned (bomb), so be prepared to talk about senseless violence with your kids.
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
How do you survive a war? How do you make sense of it as a child? as a parent? How much do you tolerate, when will you stand up for your rights?
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, lebanon, middle-east
This beautiful book about the MIddle East might be more appealing to American children if the Lebanese Civil War were the background and the story focused on something they could identify with.
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