“‘Zenobia’ is not so much a novel as a fable, a vignette in a lost life. … [It] highlights, with simple clarity, Syria’s noble historical legacy as well as the plight of its modern people. Amina’s short and tragic story…is harrowing and instructive.” —New York Times Book Review
“Haunting and powerful. With very few words, Morten Dürr and Lars Horneman show all the devastation and despair of the Syrian refugee crisis.” —Alan Gratz, author of the New York Times bestseller, Refugee
“Deceptively spare, this timely and important offering is a must-read, helping bring greater understanding and empathy to a situation that for many feels far away. Graphic storytelling at its most powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The combined restraint of both the pictures and words powerfully amplifies the astonishing tragedy of the girl’s fate, creating an unforgettable story that will stay with teens and adults alike.” —Publishers Weekly
“This beautifully-wrought and completely devastating Danish graphic novel will probably make you angry. Or at least it should make you angry. Most possibly it’s about something that doesn’t affect you directly other than having to endure the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric that has become more accepted in our own country, though has never been completely taboo. It’s a brief book that packs a wallop of emotion of its own, especially anger.
More than anything, Zenobia is the story of what happens when groups of people lose compassion for strangers. It’s the story of how things play out when difference is made the primary arbiter of how you qualify the worth of people. It’s a story that so many of us are in some manner, directly or indirectly, complicit.
Following the experience of a Syrian girl named Amina, the book opens on a crowded refugee boat, first presented as a speck in the sea upon which multiple human lives are crammed. It’s a simple expression of how in control of their own lives these people, adrift in the water without the smallest comfort, rustled together to become a single body of helplessness surrounded by a natural body that has no emotion toward them.” —Comics Beat
“Dürr, an award-winning Danish writer of more than 50 titles, makes his North American debut here, and his sparse, sharp text is wondrously visualized by prodigious compatriot Horneman.” —Booklist
“Zenobia is a remarkable book that sends a strong message about one of the world’s most persistent crises. Its power lies in its visual simplicity and a very few poignant words but, above all, it is impossible not to identify with Amina and her parents and uncle. Their story becomes your own; their family, your own family. In short, if any book can be perfect, this is it.” —ArtsHub
“As encouraged by her beloved mother, young Amina thinks often of the ancient warrior queen Zenobia in order to inspire the courage she needs to survive in war-torn Syria. With great sensitivity, few words and evocative illustrations, this graphic novel tells an emotionally devastating story of the humanity behind the headlines. Reminiscent of “Maus,” Art Spiegelman’s groundbreaking graphic novel set during the Holocaust, the heartbreak of Amina’s brief life will stay with readers long after the book is closed.” —The Bulletin, Bend OR
“Deeply moving” —Jyllands Posten (Denmark’s leading national newspaper)
“Powerful and haunting, Zenobia keeps your mind on edge as you flee war, hand in hand with a Syrian girl, connecting dots from history, holding your breath for a future with hope.” —N.H. Senzai, author of Escape from Aleppo