The Caldecott Honor-winning true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who in the midst of the Syrian Civil War courageously offered safe haven to Aleppo's abandoned cats.
 


Aleppo's city center no longer echoes with the rich, exciting sounds of copper-pot pounding and traditional sword sharpening. His neighborhood is empty--except for the many cats left behind.

Alaa loves Aleppo, but when war comes his neighbors flee to safety, leaving their many pets behind. Alaa decides to stay--he can make a difference by driving an ambulance, carrying the sick and wounded to safety. One day he hears hungry cats calling out to him on his way home. They are lonely and scared, just like him. He feeds and pets them to let them know they are loved. The next day more cats come, and then even more! There are too many for Alaa to take care of on his own. Alaa has a big heart, but he will need help from others if he wants to keep all of his new friends safe.
Praise for The Cat Man of Aleppo:
Caldecott Honor
Winner of the 2020 Middle East Book Award
A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book of 2020
A 2021 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
A 2021 Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award Nominee
A 2021-2022 Dogwood Book Award Nominee


★ “Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations . . . A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “With meticulous care, Shimizu draws the destroyed buildings, the empty streets, and the cats that fleeing Syrians have left behind . . . Latham and Shamsi-Basha pick out the glimmers of light that make up Alaa’s story, and Shimizu portrays their beauty.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “The story of the Cat Man of Aleppo is remarkable…Shimizu’s lifelike illustrations capture the joy and beauty prior to the war, juxtaposing it with the horror and grief that followed . . . A safe, sobering, and hopeful introduction to the crisis in Syria.” —Booklist, starred review

★ “Based on the true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, this story portrays a beautiful and loving community rocked by violence… Shimizu’s digitally colored paintings, echoing Edo-era Japanese art, are masterfully emotive…audiences will find solace in the reminder of humanity in the direst times.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

★ “Alaa's story is one of faith in humanity, the power of compassion and the benefits of altruism.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review