Book Review: The Cat Man of Aleppo
Today’s book is a Caldecott Honor book. Written by Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, The Cat Man of Aleppo, is the true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel. Alaa lives in Aleppo, Syria. He loves his city and is devastated when war comes. He is an ambulance driver and sees much suffering. As Alaa drives around the city he begins to notice many stray cats. He is worried what will happen to the stray cats and decides that while there is much he cannot do to help his war-torn city, he can feed the cats. He uses his own money to buy food for the cats. Gradually one cat turns into many. Soon he has so many cats to care for that he needs a place to house them. Volunteers begin to hear about Alaa’s cats and donate time and money. Soon he has enough donations to buy a building to use as a sanctuary. Soon he has so many donations he can build a playground for the children of Aleppo. Today Alaa continues to take care of animals and people in Aleppo. This book provides a great stepping-off point to talk to upper elementary kids and older about the difference an individual can make. It does describe the toll that war takes on a city and therefore may not be as conducive to a younger audience. After reading this book, take time to discuss small acts that one individual can do to help and the ripple effect that can take place.
Reading is something that has brought me joy and helped me relate to others and the world around me throughout my life. I believe that sharing books together is one of the quickest and most effective ways to connect with one another. Sharing books about life experiences can bring us closer even when our experiences are vastly different. On this blog, I share some of my favorite books that help me connect with my refugee friends. I hope as you find out about great books about refugees you and your children will feel a connection with their experiences and recognize that we are all more similar than we realize. I also share books that might help you to teach the children in your sphere of influence more about compassion, tolerance, and kindness as these traits help bring us all a little closer in the world.
Just as citizens in Europe and the U.K. have heroically supported displaced Ukrainians by opening up their homes or securing other housing, assisting with school enrollments, employment needs, and language learning, Americans now have the opportunity via the Welcome.us Sponsor Circles program to directly help newly arrived Ukrainians. The United States has committed to welcoming 100,000 Ukrainians temporarily for a period of two-years and the ability to apply for employment authorization in the U.S. as long as they have a U.S.-based sponsor to petition for them.
If you have a story, experience or opinion to share in support of our Afghan allies, we ask you to share it to help us demonstrate public support for legislation that supports and aids these individuals and families.
USAHello.org and Welcome.US: Two Helpful Online Tools for our Refugee Friends and U.S. Locals who are Welcoming them
Resettling into a new country can be more challenging when you don't know where to turn for help. USAHello.org makes information and resources available to those who have newly arrived in the United States. Welcome.US matches resettlement agencies' in-kind needs with businesses and community leaders who want to help.