Alia Muhammad Baker: Saving a Library From War
By Lindsay Bacher
Mankato: The Child’s World, 2016.
Pages 24 Grades 3-4 and Up
I think I like this book a little more today than I did about a month ago when I read it. It is a short book best suited for grades 3-4 and up but I was looking for interesting biographies and this one—about saving a library caught my eye. The author makes an attempt at being politically correct but I think that she falls short. I felt that she was placing blame somewhat to the United States for what was happening in Iraq—placing emphasis on “thought that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction” rather than on crimes against humanity—the author eludes to this when she states, “many of the people in Basra did not like President Hussein…”
The story of how one selfless women was able to remove almost all the books by encouraging others to help her remove and hide the books. Some of these manuscripts were hundreds of years old—some as old as 1300 A.D. Muhammad Baker was able to save 30,000 books that helped to save and preserve Iraq’s history and culture. The author does a good job describing the conditions under which Iraqi’s lived during this time of turmoil in history.
I like this book more since I have been reading, It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas who goes in-depth in her realistic fiction book on the power that surround oil rich countries and how human rights can suffer at the hands of leaders who are more interested in advancing an oil agenda than on being a just leader.
This book would stir up some great conversations about libraries and the power of books.