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Yara’s Spring

Interest Age: 10–14
Grade: 6–9
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RL.9-1-.1,2,3,4,5,6,9,10

Reading Level: Lexile 620L
Paperback : 9781773214399, 304 pages, October 2020 , 8.0" x 5.5"
Hardcover : 9781773214405, 304 pages, October 2020 , 8.0" x 5.5"
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781773214412, 304 pages, October 2020


Coming of age against all odds in the midst of the Arab Spring.

Growing up in Aleppo, Yara’s childhood has long been shadowed by the coming revolution. But when the Arab Spring finally arrives at Yara’s doorstep, it is worse than even her Nana imagined: sudden, violent, and deadly. When rescuers dig Yara out from under the rubble that was once her family’s home, she emerges to a changed world. Her parents and Nana are gone, and her brother, Saad, can’t speak—struck silent by everything he’s seen. Now, with her friend Shireen and Shireen’s charismatic brother, Ali, Yara must try to find a way to safety. With danger around every corner, Yara is pushed to her limits as she discovers how far she’ll go for her loved ones—and for a chance for freedom. 

Crafted through the focused lens of Jamal Saeed’s own experiences in Syria and brought to life with acclaimed author Sharon E. McKay, Yara’s Spring is a story of coming of age against all odds and the many kinds of love that bloom even in the face of war. Black-and-white interior drawings by award-winning illustrator Nahid Kazemi lend vivid detail to the novel.

*A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection


  • Joint winner, Kirkus Best Books List 2020
  • Nominated, Red Maple Award, OLA 2021
  • Joint winner, Best Bets List, Top Ten, Ontario Library Association 2021
  • Joint winner, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2021 2021
  • Nominated, Red Cedar Book Award 2021
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, *starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2021
  • Short-listed, Next Generation INDIE Book Award 2021
  • Nominated, Indiana Young Hoosier Book Awards 2022


 “Inspired by Saeed’s own experiences . . . Readers are taken inside Syria—and through the emotions of love, loss, and steadfastness.”

- Kirkus Reviews, *starred review, 07/28/20


- CM Reviews, 06/05/20

“Add this to your must read list.” 

- Library Matters, 09/07/20

“The narrative is fast-paced and descriptive, and the dialogue so charged with the characters’ emotions that readers will be immediately drawn into Yara’s plight . . . A gripping addition to literature about current refugee experiences.”

- Booklist, 10/01/20

“Heartbreaking and hopeful.” 

- Canadian Children’s Book News, *starred review, Fall/20

“Well written and a must-read.”

- Libris Notes, 02/03/21

“Extremely dramatic and high energy . . . Very well written.”

- Reformed Librarians Together, 09/21