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