The Day War Came by Nicola Davies and Rebecca Cobb

This is such an important picture book – every school should have one. Seriously. Every MP should have one too come to that.

In The Day War Came, Nicola Davies tells the story of a little girl who’s life changes in unimaginable ways when war comes to her town.  A story inspired by the news of the UK governments’s refusal to give sanctuary to 3000 unaccompanied refugees in the spring of 2016 at the height of the war in Syria.  Sadly, it is a story that playing out again and again, a lived out story for many children and young people living in many parts of the world today.  This isn’t just a sad story; it is a story of loss, determination, compassion, kindness and togetherness.


Rebecca Cobb’s delicate expressive illustrations resonate perfectly with Davies’ emotive poem.  The muted colour tones echo the sadness of the little girl’s story, and the innocent child-like style roots the reader firmly in a child’s story.

The illustrations bring this story to life for the reader; the hints of the devastation to come in the school children’s pictures of volcanoes, the portrayal of what must have felt like a never-ending journey of escape, the light surrounding the young bringer of hope.

We read as outsiders to the little girl’s story, unable to intervene, just as she is an outsider in the eyes of others too; those unable to or not willing to help her.

This is an important book. Stories like this need to be heard and repeated.   The art of the poet and illustrator in perfect harmony set behind a cause both passionately believe in, leaving the reader asking themselves, what am I going to do?

We really enjoyed reading this as a family, and even our 3 year old understood something of the little girls plight.  This book would be an excellent resource for schools and families who want to explore empathy and the refugee story.  It would be at home in  an Early Years setting as much as in Key Stage 2 or 3. As my 11 year old daughter said, “it really makes you think…”

I can fully understand why this picture book is nominated for prizes such as the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Award. You can find a brilliant video on their website in which Rebecca Cobb talks about the process she went through in designing the illustrations for The Day War Came. Find it here.

The Day War Came was published by Walker Books in June 2018 and £1 for each copy sold will go to the charity Help Refugees.

You can get your own copy from Hive

ISBN: 9781406376326

Many thanks to Walker Books for gifting our copy for review.

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