A Game for Swallows from Graphic Universe Named a 2013 Batchelder Honor Book
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Zeina Abirached and published in 2012 by Graphic Universe, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, has been named a 2013 Batchelder Honor Book. The book was originally published in French by Editions Cambourakis in 2007 and translated into English by Edward Gauvin.
The Batchelder Award was named in honor of Mildred L. Batchelder, a former executive director of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). It is awarded annually by the ALSC, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), to the publisher of the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country and translated into English. The ALA awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.
Zeina Abirached, born into a Lebanese Christian family in 1981, has collected her childhood memories of Beirut in a warm story about the strength of family and community.
When Zeina was born, the civil war in Lebanon had been going on for six years, so it's just a normal part of life for her and her parents and little brother. The city of Beirut is cut in two by bricks and sandbags, threatened by snipers and shelling. When Zeina's parents don't return from a visit to the other half of the city, and the bombing grows ever closer, the neighbors in her apartment house create a world indoors for Zeina and her brother. Together they try to make it through a dramatic evening in the one place they hoped they would always be safe—home.
“A Game for Swallows puts a human face on the strife that has shaped the Middle East and led to the upheavals of today,” said Adam Lerner, Lerner Publishing Group president and publisher. “Zeina’s incredible childhood story and beautiful palette of comic illustrations make for a magical combination. We are thrilled to win such a distinguished honor.”