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 “It seemed that war had taken all the world and all the people in it.” – The Day War Came

The Day War Came

by Nicola Davies

At A Glance
Interest Level

6 – 9
Reading Level
Number of Pages

The day started with a young girl having breakfast with her family. Afterwards, she heads to school, where she and her classmates learn about volcanoes and the life cycle of frogs. Then just after lunch, war came, and the school was brought down around the girl. All the people she had been with that day, from her teacher to her classmates to her family, were taken away from her. What follows is a moving story that is equally heart-wrenching and thought-provoking, as the girl flees her country and is faced with the possibility that the war may follow her wherever she goes.

The Day War Came uses simple vocabulary and childlike illustrations to introduce young readers to the real-life issues of war and child refugees. The illustrations are drawn to mimic a child’s drawings, making the story more accessible to young readers while also placing them in the perspective of the book’s child protagonist. The book does not specify which war it describes and does not show the resulting violence in its illustrations. Still, the presence of the war and its impact on the protagonist can be felt on nearly every page. 

The arrival of the war is indicated by tall clouds of dark smoke, along with a destroyed skyline of buildings. These drawings, along with the narrator’s description of the attacks, portray the confusion and chaos without directly showing its violence. For example, the narrator describes, “at first, just like a spattering of hail, a voice of thunder. . . then all smoke and fire and noise that I didn’t understand.” The book does not shy away from the reality of war and the struggles faced by war refugees, as the narrator travels across mountains, roads, and seas before arriving in a town where people shun her. 

The story ends with a message of hope, as the children of the town come together to give the narrator a seat in their classroom. On the last page of the book is a note from the author, Nicola Davies. Davies explains that she wrote the book after hearing a story about a child refugee who had been rejected by a school because there wasn’t a chair for her to sit in. Davies hopes that through this story, young readers will be taught the importance of these issues and will be inspired to act for a better future. If you are looking for a book to help your child understand the serious and continuing issue of war and child refugees, The Day War Came is an honest and straightforward guide.

Sexual Content

  • None


  • Although no violence is explicitly shown, the narrator says that the war “came across the playground. It came into my teacher’s face. It brought the roof down and turned my town to rubble.”
  • After the first attack, the narrator describes herself as “ragged, bloody,” although no blood is shown in the illustrations.

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None


  • None


  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None

Luke McClain

Other books by Nicola Davies
Other books you may enjoy

 “It seemed that war had taken all the world and all the people in it.” – The Day War Came

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