To Die, to Leave, to Return
In the tradition of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Lebanese author-artist Abirached offers readers a memory of her childhood in war-torn Beirut. Abirached and her brother are young children, separated from their parents during a particularly violent bombing. The violence brings all the people of Abirached’s apartment complex together, however, and they spend hours together in the foyer, waiting for her parents’ return. Abirached’s b&w inks offer a stark contrast in hard, geometric patterns that make images at once abstract and fully representative of her childhood memories. The characters, despite their cartoonish nature, show a variety of emotions, and Abirached’s gift for pacing makes tense moments appropriately full of anxiety. It is as often the space she leaves empty as the drawings themselves that tell the story—and each detail offered provides insight into the horrors of growing up in a war zone. A winner for young readers and adults alike. Ages 12–up.