The Day War Came

Nicola Davies, Rebecca Cobb

The Day War Came
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The Day War Came

Nicola Davies, Rebecca Cobb

A powerful and necessary picture book - the journey of a child forced to become a refugee when war destroys everything she has ever known.

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, war came. Imagine it turned your town to rubble. Imagine going on a long and difficult journey - all alone. Imagine finding no welcome at the end of it. Then imagine a child who gives you something small but very, very precious…

When the government refused to allow 3000 child refugees to enter this country in 2016, Nicola Davies was so angry she wrote a poem. It started a campaign for which artists contributed drawings of chairs, symbolising a seat in a classroom, education, kindness, the hope of a future. The poem has become this book, movingly illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, which should prove a powerful aid for explaining the ongoing refugee crisis to younger readers.


The Day War Came marks the moment when everything changed for the little girl in this story. The simple, spare language of a child reveals the harsh, indiscriminate brutality of war. It begins as a normal day – sharing breakfast around the kitchen table with her family, attending school and learning lessons with school friends. Then life is irreparably changed with the sudden and unexpected onset of war.

Buildings and houses are turned to rubble and ruin amid cacophonous destruction and angry clouds of smoke. The story of loss, displacement, and asylum that follows is as harrowing as the loss of childhood innocence for a girl who finds herself alone and unprotected in a world ripped asunder. This is a remarkable work that shows rather than tells the refugee experience. It is heartbreaking, yet it is also hopeful about the resilience of children.

Natalie Platten is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Doncaster.

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