This quick read is similar in a way to another book by the same author, The Fastest Boy in the World, that I have also reviewed on this site. Although it is a short book, and there isn't time to develop the characters too much, you still really feel for Ayesha as she tries to rush across war torn Beirut to get medicines that will save her Gran's life.
The author, Elizabeth Laird, lived in Beirut during a Civil War 30-40 years ago. In her preface she says that this story became eerily topical not much later when the city she wrote about became a war zone once more.
It is very easy to become immune to all the stories of war zones around the world that are on the news. It is important that children read about children just like them, who become refugees and have to suffer the horrors of war. This story is a good introduction to this, without becoming too violent or upsetting.
The topics that Elizabeth Laird cover in her books mean you can expect to see many other of her books featured on this site soon.
"Oranges in No Man's Land tells the riveting story of ten-year-old Ayesha's terrifying journey across no man's land to reach a doctor in hostile territory in search of medicine for her dying grandmother. Set in Lebanon during the civil war, this story is told by award-winning author Elizabeth Laird and is based on personal, real-life events. Elizabeth stayed on the green line in Beirut in 1977 in a war-damaged flat with her husband and six-month-old son. Memories of her son sleeping in a suitcase on the floor, taking his first steps on the bullet-riddled balcony, playing with the soldiers on the checkpoint, and her husband racing through no man's land in the buildup to a battle have all inspired this gripping and moving story.
Elizabeth Laird says, "When I wrote Oranges in No Man's Land, I didn't know that Lebanon would be plunged back so soon into a nightmare. Caught up in that nightmare are children like Ayesha and Samar, whose lives political leaders so easily throw away."
Elizabeth Laird has been nominated four times for the Carnegie Medal and has won both the Nestl Smarties Book Prize and the Children's Book Award (UK). Her numerous books, including A Little Piece of Ground have been published around the world.