The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival

Amra Sabic-El-Rayess with Laura Sullivan. Bloomsbury, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0453-1
In her memoir about the transformative power of love, connection, and education, Sabic-El-Rayess revisits her life during the Bosnian civil war beginning shortly after her 16th birthday in 1992, and the ethnic cleansing of Muslims that she, her brother, and her parents survived at the hands of Serbs. Sabic-El-Rayess communicates the horrors of war—violence, starvation, and death—with frank detail. She also describes the community-building and connections borne amid the suffering, including the creation of a community garden and a makeshift school that allowed children a sense of normalcy and an opportunity to continue learning despite bombs and constant threats to lives. Central to Sabic-El-Rayess’s story is the titular “cat [she] never named,” a stray who showed her reluctant family unconditional love, indirectly saving their lives multiple times. At once a story of an individual surviving horrifying circumstances and an unflinching exploration of the political and societal forces that breed ethnic hate and discrimination, Sabic-El-Rayess’s memoir is as timely as it is effective. Ages 12–up. Agents: Rob McQuilkin and Jason Anthony, Massie and McQuilkin. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 10/15/2020
Release date: 09/08/2020
Genre: Children's
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-5476-0455-5
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