A children’s book about war, animals, and kids who just want to be kids

January 21, 2015

“For increasing numbers of children living in war-torn nations, childhood has become a nightmare,” states a United Nations report.  This is true regardless of where the war takes place, what it is called, or the reasons given for the enmity and conflict.

Well aware of this reality, author Emma Williams has written a new book for young children, called The Story of Hurry. She hopes it will appeal to children’s “innate sense of justice” and their “amazing sense of inquiry,” providing children with an opportunity to ask questions about war: “Why is this allowed to happen? What about the children on the other side, what do they think? Why do the soldiers do that?”

Writing for The Nation, Lizzy Ratner goes on to describe Williams’s book further. She writes

“The book goes about provoking these questions by following the adventures of a ‘little donkey,’ named Hurry, who just wants to make children happy. Hurry lives ‘in a dry and lonely land by the sea’ where the children often go hungry, the electricity frequently falters and, some nights, bombs fall from the sky. Grownups will recognize this land as Gaza, though its name is never mentioned in the book, nor is Israel’s. The book also sidesteps words like ‘war’ and ‘siege,’ but it is clear, from both text and pictures, that the children of this land lead fearful, walled-in lives. They wander to the beach to play but are ‘chased out of the sea by angry men.’ They go to the zoo in search of fun and escape, but the animals are ‘thin, and sad, and few.’”

Find out what Hurry does in an effort to bring a little bit of joy to the children— even under bleak circumstances.

Click here to read the entire article from The Nation.

Related: You might also enjoy reading a news report (from The Guardian) about a zoo in Gaza that inspired the book.


Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.