Alia's Mission

Alia's Mission

Saving the Books of Iraq, Inspired by A True Story

Book - 2004
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The inspiring story of an Iraqi librarian's courageous fight to save books from the Basra Central Library before it was destroyed in the war.
It is 2003 and Alia Muhammad Baker, the chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq, has grown worried given the increased likelihood of war in her country. Determined to preserve the irreplacable records of the culture and history of the land on which she lives from the destruction of the war, Alia undertakes a courageous and extremely dangerous task of spiriting away 30,000 books from the library to a safe place.
Told in dramatic graphic-novel panels by acclaimed cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty, Alia's Mission celebrates the importance of books and the freedom to read, while examining the impact of war on a country and its people.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2004]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2004
ISBN: 9780375832178
Branch Call Number: 956.70443 ST21
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 24 cm


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FindingJane Oct 30, 2014

A short but telling graphic novel, Mr. Stamaty’s drawings adroitly portray one woman’s fear that the great literature of her country will be lost because of the destruction of warfare and the government’s vast indifference.

The illustrations are eloquent in conveying mood, activity, background and landscape. It is funny to see Alia’s home filled to the brim with books and poignant when you realize that her efforts aren’t enough.

The black-and-white-and-gray illustrations are matched neatly with the writing as Alia’s efforts expand to bring in the many volunteers who banded together in this vast labor of love to save Basra’s history. The tension is built gradually but perceptibly as the drawings widen out to include Alia’s friends, neighbors, co-workers and then strangers on the street.

This is a wonderful children’s book about a very adult topic and a touching tribute to any bibliophile who has ever championed books.

Jul 18, 2011

An inspiring graphic novel of an Iraqi woman fighting to protect her library's books.


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