Review of Lost Words: An Armenian Story of Survival and Hope

Lost Words: An Armenian Story of Survival and Hope Lost Words: An Armenian Story of Survival and Hope
by Leila Boukarim; illus. by Sona Avedikian
Primary    Chronicle    40 pp.
3/24    9781797213651    $18.99

In a story inspired by her husband’s grandfather, Boukarim provides a powerful examination of the loss inflicted by the Armenian Genocide. After soldiers suddenly arrive at their home, the young protagonist and his two sisters are forced to flee, embarking on an exhausting journey to escape the coming violence. Quiet and mournful, the boy, though himself safe, slowly lets go of the hope of ever seeing his mother again. Finally, after many decades, he finds the words necessary to share his story and the history with his grandchildren—a remembrance of an ordeal long untold. “‘Where are we from, Dada?’ I didn’t see it coming. I found my words, dusty from years of sitting in the dark, unspoken.” Avedikian’s digital illustrations, rendered with a warm palette and suffused with familial love and comfort, make a harrowing story approachable for young readers. Back matter includes notes from both the author and illustrator detailing their personal connections to the Armenian Genocide; family photographs; and a map showing the two possible escape routes that may have been used by the author’s extended family members. A necessary and well-crafted picture book about a part of world history too often ignored and sadly still relevant.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter is the school librarian at Fred A. Toomer Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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