Historical Fiction from Iraq

Today I have a book that is historical fiction from Iraq.  So often we think of historical fiction as something we as parents didn’t live through, but in this case, 1991 may be relevant for us while ancient history for our kids.  The politics that continue to play out in the Middle East are influenced directly by Desert Storm, and giving kids a perspective on this conflict with the US will only help them as they digest current events.

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Title: Playing Atari with Saddam Husseinhistorical fiction from Iraq playing atari with Saddam Hussein

Author: Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Target: Grades 4-7

Series: No

What this book is about:

This is a fictionalized biography of Ali Fadhil, a boy growing up in Iraq during Desert Storm. It looks at how Ali’s family coped with the bombings, food shortages, and uncertainty during this war. His parents grew up in an Iraq that was vibrant, and they must cope with the changes under Saddam Hussein and a war that they do not feel good about. But criticizing the government means certain death so they quietly cope with the realities of war as seen through the eyes of eleven-year-old Ali.

Why I love this book:

  • I think our views of Iraq tend to be shaped by the person who was in charge, Saddam Hussein. It is easy to forget about the people living under that regime who are not allowed to express their views or opinions in the midst of the conflict. This book is a good reminder that regular citizens are not their governments, especially when they are ruled by a madman.
  • It is easy to forget or get confused with everything that is happening in the Middle East. This book is a great history lesson on what took place in the ‘90s which is continuing to shape the conflicts that exist today.
  • Ali is such an every kid. He collects comic books and gets restless staying indoors. Readers will be able to relate to him and knowing that he actually lived through these events will make it all the more compelling.

Who this book is for:

This book is good for kids who like historical fiction. I am reminded of books like Refugee and A Long Walk to Water.

Final thoughts:

I was little skeptical going into this story that I would enjoy it, but Ali is portrayed in a heartwarming way and I was completely caught up in his story.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.