The White Zone

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 8   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Nouri and his cousin Talib can only vaguely remember a time before tanks rumbled over the streets of their Baghdad neighborhood—when books, not bombs, ruled Mutanabbi Street. War has been the backdrop of their young lives. And now Iraq isn’t just at war with Americans. It’s at war with itself. Sunnis fight Shiites, and the strife is at the boys’ doorsteps. Nouri is Shiite and Talib is half Sunni. To the boys, it seems like only a miracle can mend the rift that is tearing a country and a family apart.

In early 2008, Iraq experienced a miracle. Snow fell in Baghdad for the first time in living memory. As snow covered the dusty streets, the guns in the city grew silent and there was an unofficial ceasefire. During these magical minutes, Sunni and Shiite differences were forgotten. There was no green zone, no red zone. There was only the white zone.

Against this real-life backdrop, Nouri and Talib begin to imagine a world after the war.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
978-1-46775-177-3
$9.95 $9.95
978-0-76138-724-4
$28.49 $21.36
Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 4
Genre Fiction
Subject Diversity
Copyright 2012
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 192
Publication Date 2012-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.4
BISACS JUV030110, JUV016080, JUV044000
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 710
ATOS Reading Level 4.7
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 148981
Accelerated Reader® Points 4.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Reviewed, and eSource

Awards

  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2013
  • SSLI Book Award Honor Book, Commended, 2013
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids, Winner, 2012

Reviews

The Horn Book Guide

“Cousins Nouri, a Shiite, and Talib, half Sunni, describe life in Baghdad amid the second Iraq War, during which Iraqis also fought amongst themselves over religious differences. But in winter 2008, snow covered the city for the ‘first time in anyone’s memory,’ sparking an unofficial ceasefire. Though the reader is aware that peace won’t last, this poignant wartime narrative is subtly hopeful.” —The Horn Book Guide

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Marsden’s knack for getting deeply into a culture and creating realistic, believable characters proves effective once again; this is an accessible and engaging window into a specific time and place that will have current relevance to many young readers and units of study… Descriptions are evocative, and juxtapositions between everyday realities and the violence effectively hint at the senselessness of the conflict.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

VOYA

“Marsden tells a story that resonates highly in today’s society where there are many different types of chaos disrupting lives and homes worldwide.” —VOYA

School Library Journal

“Based on actual events, this novel is a realistic depiction of children caught up in hostilities they cannot fully understand…. Marsden’s detailed descriptions of everyday life make this culture come alive.” —School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“A decently executed exploration of the American presence in Iraq and the tensions between Shiites and Sunnis.” —Kirkus Reviews

Booklist

“Marsden’s latest book puts a face on a bitter, centuries-old conflict that continues to rage…. This tense novel will be particularly useful in the classroom.” —Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“Haunting yet hopeful.” —Publishers Weekly

Author: Carolyn Marsden

Carolyn Marsden grew up in Mexico City and Southern California. Although she wrote for adults for many years, she began to write for children after the birth of her daughters. She attended Vermont College and earned an MFA in Writing for Children. Her first book, The Gold-Threaded Dress (Candlewick), was a Booklist Top Ten Youth Novel of 2002. Her second novel, Silk Umbrellas, was a Texas Bluebonnet nominee and Booklist Top Ten Art Novel of 2003. Since then, Carolyn has published many more award-winning middle grade chapter books,almost all with multicultural themes. Her most recent books are Starfields (Candlewick), set in Chiapas, Mexico, and The White Zone (Carolrhoda), set in contemporary Baghdad.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

The White Zone

Nouri and his cousin Talib can only vaguely remember a time before tanks rumbled over the streets of their Baghdad neighborhood—when books, not bombs, ruled Mutanabbi Street. War has been the backdrop of their young lives. And now Iraq isn’t just at war with Americans. It’s… View available downloads →