Bang! Bang! Bang! War refugee Noah spirals into a terrified silence at the sounds of celebratory fireworks. As memories of the conflict back home flood his mind, Noah’s friends share comforting sounds, smells, and activities to help him cope. But as the fireworks get louder and scarier, Noah fears he will never feel safe again.

A sensory journey through old memories and new beginnings, NOAH’S NEW HOME: A REFUGEE’S JOURNEY OF OVERCOMING FEAR is a 530-word picture book for children ages 4 to 7. Readers of The Day the War Came, by Nicola Davies and Wisp: A Story of Hope, by Zana Fraillon will be touched by this story.

Noah’s story is inspired in part by the incredible work of Save the Children, an organization that helps young people cope with the traumas of war and other experiences. My own grandparents fled persecution during the partition of India in 1947. Later, my parents came first to England where I was born, before moving to Scotland.

I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Society of Authors. I am the co-ordinator for the Edinburgh SCBWI picture book critique group and regularly attend local writing groups and retreats. My publishing credits include a 5,000-word nonfiction essay on nature in a literary journal as well as numerous articles in magazines.

I have other completed picture book manuscripts available upon request. The first 240 words of my manuscript are included below. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Zeshan Akhter (Ms)

 

NOAH’S NEW HOME:

A REFUGEE’S JOURNEY OF OVERCOMING FEAR 

 

[Spread 1]

BANG!

The air shook.

The windows shook.

Noah shook.
[Spread 2]

“Noah my darling, it’s just fireworks,” Mummy said as she held him tight.

“Not another war?” Noah gasped.

“My Heart, we’ve left the war far behind,” Mummy replied. “Fireworks are just for fun.”

 

[Spread 3]

There was a knock at the door. It was Noah’s neighbour Eliyah.

“Noah, would you like to watch the fireworks? Everyone is excited to see them!”

Wheeeeeeeeeeee. A whistling sound climbed the air.

“Here comes one now!” shouted Eliyah.

Fizzzzzzzzzzzzz. There was a noise like paper being unwrapped.

BANG!

Noah shielded his head.

“Noah my Heart, these sounds are not the war,” said Mummy softly.

 

[Spread 4]

“Do the fireworks scare you?” asked Eliyah. “Don’t worry Noah, we can play inside,” she offered kindly. “Do you like to draw?” [Illustration note: Mummy smiles to encourage Noah.]

The sound of the crayons across the paper reminded Noah of the gentle way the jasmine and apple flowers rustled in the breeze back home, before the war.

“I’m glad you live here now,” said Eliyah. [Illustration note: Eliyah sees that Noah’s drawings show the war.]

 

[Spread 5]

There was a knock at the door. “Noah, that will be your music teacher, Miss Anoushka,” said Mummy.

“Noah, would you like to listen to music tonight?” Miss Anoushka asked. “Music always knows how I am feeling.”
The deep waves of Miss Anoushka’s violin washed away a little of the sadness in Noah’s heart.

Wheeeeeeeeeeee. A whistling sound climbed the air.

Fizzzzzzzzzzzzz. There was a noise like paper being unwrapped.

BANG!