No Ballet shoes in Syria is a beautifully written book which illustrates the impact of war on a young child. The book follows Aya (an 11 year old girl) as she flees her home in Syria, makes her way through Europe and eventually arrives in the UK. Whilst applying for asylum, Aya has nowhere to practise ballet until she finds Madam Belova’s ballet class.
Flashbacks of her previous life and journey to the UK show how Aya’s life has turned upside-down since the war broke out and the struggles she has faced. Some of the flashbacks are heartbreaking but are dealt with in an appropriate way for upper school-aged children and could be discussed at length in class.
Another point for classroom discussion is the way Aya is treated by adults and other children. In my opinion, this is a perfect way to introduce discussions about respectful treatment of all individuals despite differences. No Ballet Shoes in Syria is a heartwarming book that I am really looking forward to using in future classes!
No Ballet Shoes in Syria will be published in April 2019. Thank you to Nosy Crow Publishing and Clare Hall-Craggs for my proof copy.