The Cat Man of Aleppo

By Irene Latham, Karim Shamsi-Basha, Yuko Shimizu (illustrator)

Book cover of The Cat Man of Aleppo

Book description

Winner of the Caldecott Honor 2021
Winner of the Middle East Book Award 2020

'A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity.'
Kirkus, starred review

Out of the ravages of war came hope. How an act of kindness inspired millions worldwide.


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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Cat Man of Aleppo as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I was so moved by this true story of Alaa, an ambulance driver who loves his city of Aleppo so much that he chooses to stay there when war breaks out. In addition to helping the people of Aleppo, Alaa helps the hundreds of cats left homeless by the war. His kindness inspires others, who volunteer and donate enough money for Alaa to build a shelter he names “The House of Cats Ernesto” in memory of a friend’s beloved cat. People who visit the shelter are so filled with hope, they donate more money and soon Alaa builds a playground…

From Lesléa's list on the loving bond between people and cats.

I love this story of an ambulance driver who chose to help helpless animals when humans were destroying his beloved Syrian city with war. Full of love, loss, innovation, and collaboration, this book is a perfect “solutionary story.” And as Muhammad Alaa Aljaleel, the Cat Man himself, says in a note at the beginning of the book, it reminds readers that “both people and animals suffer pain, and all of them deserve compassion.” This story breaks and mends the heart, all at once, and highlights the extraordinary difference an “ordinary” person has made for many living beings amidst unfathomable loss.

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