The Three Lucys

Hayan Charara, illus. by Sara Kahn. Lee & Low, $18.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-60060-998-5
A Lebanese boy named Luli gives a frank, child’s-eye view of the toll that war inflicts on families and communities in Charara’s empathic picture book debut, based on his family’s experience during the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006. In early scenes, Luli describes life in his seaside home, where he revels in the company of three cats—the Lucys of the title. Following a trip to Beirut to visit Luli’s aunt and uncle, the family is driving home when a “red streak shoots across the horizon and a loud boom fills the air.” The bombs force Luli and his parents to return to Beirut, where they stay with their relatives for weeks, Luli’s thoughts often with the Lucys. Working in soft swathes of watercolor, Kahn confidently bridges the emotional transition from tender family meals under a setting sun to frightening moments hiding in gray basements. The disappearance of one of the Lucys and the evident destruction wrought by the bombing offer a somber, though not hopeless, entry point for discussions of loss and the consequences of war. Ages 8–9. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
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