A Game for Swallows by Zeina Abirached


Part One

  1. Abirached, Z., & Gauvin, E. (2012). A game for swallows: To die, to leave, to return. Graphic Universe.
  2. Genre: Autobiography/Graphic Novels Suggested Grade Level: 6-8

Part Two

I honestly did not like this book. Maybe this is sexist to say, but I thought it was more a “boy book”. This book was about a girl who was growing up in the Middle East, Lebanon to be exact, during the civil war. Now, right off the bat I really do not like war stories. They depress me and I hate to envision myself living in that situation. All war stories end with some character dying or someone being traumatically affected by war and that book did exactly like that. Zeina’s parents never came back and that affected her and her brother immensely. I think the other reason I did not like this book was because when I read, I always like to imagine I was the main character and in this case, I do have a little brother who I love and protect. So to imagine myself living in the middle of a war zone, with no parents and my little brother to look out for is very depressing. I did enjoy the sketches though. It seemed very much like “doodling” yet very intricate as well.

Part Three

The setting takes place in Beirut, Lebanon during the Civil War. Beirut (the city they live in) is divided into two places due to religion and the plot of the story happens when Zeina’s parents do not return form the other side of town. I honestly do not see a theme to this story except for being grateful for your family. Since this story takes place right in the middle war, it is hard to imagine living under those conditions. Especially when her parents don’t come back, the neighbors take it upon themselves to watch the kids and try to make the most of the situation they are under by making it fun inside the apartment. Due to this, I would say the theme is family and always trying to make the most of any situation—even if you are living in the middle of a war zone.

Part Four

Lesson Objective: Students will be able to learn about the Civil War in Lebanon and the United States and compare and contrast the two wars.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think you would have done if you were in Zeina’s shoes when her parents did not return?
  2. If you were to all of a sudden have to take care of you siblings, what would be some of the activities you would do with them to keep a positive mentality?


Students will research the Cold War that happened in Lebanon and the United States and present a chart that compared and contrasted the two wars.

Outside Sources:
1. https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?rs=ac&len=2&q=civil+war+activities+projects&term_meta%5B%5D=civil%7Cautocomplete%7C3&term_meta%5B%5D=war%7Cautocomplete%7C3&term_meta%5B%5D=activities%7Cautocomplete%7C3&term_meta%5B%5D=projects%7Cautocomplete%7C3 ( Pinterest on Civil War activities)

2. http://easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-lebanon/ (Fact about Lebanon)

3. http://www.tcj.com/i-was-convinced-that-beirut-stopped-at-that-wall-an-interview-with-zeina-abirached/ (Interview with the author)

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