I Remember Beirut

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

Zeina Abirached, author of the award-winning graphic novel A Game for Swallows, returns with a powerful collection of wartime memories.

Abirached was born in Lebanon in 1981. She grew up in Beirut as fighting between Christians and Muslims divided the city streets. Follow her past cars riddled with bullet holes, into taxi cabs that travel where buses refuse to go, and on outings to collect shrapnel from the sidewalk.

With striking black-and-white artwork, Abirached recalls the details of ordinary life inside a war zone.

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Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Graphic Novels, Social Studies, Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diversity
Copyright 2014
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Graphic Universe ™
Language English
Number of Pages 96
Publication Date 2014-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 3.5
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS YAN012000, YAN006020, YAN012020
Dewey 741.5'95692
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 6.625 x 9.25
Lexile 460
ATOS Reading Level 3.1
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 167758
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

Author, Illustrator: Zeina Abirached

Zeina Abirached was born in Beirut in the middle of the civil war. She studied graphic arts in Lebanon but moved to Paris in 2004, where she attended the National School of Decorative Arts. In 2006, she published her first two graphic novels with publisher Cambourakis, Beyrouth-Catharsis and 38, Rue Youssef Semaani. Her short animated film Mouton was nominated during the fifth international film festival in Tehran. A Game For Swallows (Graphic Universe, 2012) has won numerous awards, including being named an ALA Notable Children's Book and a YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens. Je Me Souviens Beyrouth (I Remember Beirut), the follow-up to A Game For Swallows, was published in French by Cambourakis in 2008.

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  • Notable Books for a Global Society Notable Book, Winner, 2015
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Winner, 2015
  • Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices, Winner, 2015
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2015
  • USBBY Outstanding International Books List, Winner, 2015
  • Texas Maverick Graphic Novels Reading List, Winner, 2014


Library Media Connection

“This spare memoir humanizes families trapped in war zones, and their experiences should resonate with young adult audiences. Highly Recommended.”―starred, Library Media Connection

The Horn Book Magazine

“[T]he author revisits that era in a loosely connected series of sobering vignettes and impressions, each beginning with the phrase ‘I remember’…. In one particularly striking spread, Abirached envisions the family’s many relocations as the squares of a board game.” —The Horn Book Magazine


“Abirached’s childlike memories altogether compose a deeply personal portrait of Beirut unlike any historical account, and for readers curious about conflict in the region, it will provide a useful, humanizing entry point.” —Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“Abirached’s prose and artwork convey, with grace and humor, the way her family’s life during the war shifted from mundane to ominous and back again…. Abirached shares (and readers feel) a loss that cannot be named.” —Publisher Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“Taken together, her many memories create a distinct sense of time, place, and emotion. Meandering and experimental but surprisingly evocative.” —Kirkus Reviews