Graphic Novel: A Game For Swallows


Abirached, Zeina. (2012). A Game for Swallows: To die, to leave, to return. Minnesota: Graphic Universe.

Graphic Novel, YA/ Teen, Nonfiction

Grades 6-8

I have never really gotten into graphic novels before and didn’t know what to expect from them. I also didn’t know what the title entailed before I started reading it but I was pleasantly surprised by the illustrations and story. This text explains a family living through a war and being unsure of what will happen next. The fact that it was from a child’s perspective was something that also grabbed my attention and made me feel more attached to the characters. The anticipation throughout the story was translated well through the images. This would be a good text to teach kids about the middle east as an eye opener that everyone lives life differently. It would also be good to use as an integrated history lesson.

I thought the story was very heartfelt and left me on the edge of my seat but was also hard to understand at times. When the bombings started to get closer to the home and the parents weren’t returning, I was really nervous for what was going to happen. Even though the story was on the more serious side, I valued how a YA graphic novel can bring that to the light in a more insightful way than in a way that just makes the reader feel sad. This book also reminded me to always value the people in your community because they will support you in your times of need if you are a kind person to them. I also really enjoyed it because some of my favorite books are about history or have some type of element of something from the past or a certain memory. The black and white shapely images also fit the more serious tone of the story. I thought the graphic novel was well balanced with all of the components.



After reading A Game for Swallows, reflect on how the story made you feel. How would you have handled the situation if you were in Zeina’s position?  

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is happening in Beirut?
  2. How do Zeina’s neighbors help her and her brother to feel more comfortable with the bombings going on outside?
  3. How do the illustrations help portray the mood of the story?


Create a short graphic book influenced by A Game for Swallows. Think of a layout and color scheme that fits the mood of your (short) graphic. You can be as creative as you want and can even create a continuation of the story or come up with your own characters and plot.



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