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My Name is Bana

“What does It mean to be strong, Mama?” ⁠

Genre: Advanced Picture Book⁠

Ages: 6-9⁠

Available: my amazon page-link in bio⁠

Screening: mention of bombs/fear in kids eyes might be trigger for sensitive kids⁠

What a beautiful, masterful piece of writing from Bana Alabed. Written in simple words, short easy to read text, and with beautiful pictures, the book explores what the name Bana means.⁠

Bana asks her mother (a hijabi) what her name means, and her mother responds a tall tree that reaches toward the sky. She then asks what it means to be strong, and her mother talks about how being strong means being brave even if you are scared. The book details certain events that happened in the young girls life, like the war in Syria, fleeing to another place, learning a new language in a new school, and speaking in front of crowds of people about her country. She details how being strong is persevering, learning, and being creative in caring for her siblings. The book ends with a hopeful message and an author note about how this is based on a true story and that though she is inspiring children to be strong, they shouldn’t have to be!⁠

This heartfelt tribute to Bana’s name shows the reader what it is like to be a Syrian Refugee. With Arabic words and definitions sprinkled throughout to increase cultural touches, and beautiful loving interactions between Bana and her mother, the struggle of Syrian refugee children is detailed and pulls the reader in emotionally. ⁠

I have read a lot of books on Syria, and I am also Syrian, so I didn’t know what to expect with reading this, although I do tend to search for myself within the pages of Syrian books and not always find authenticity. But this book touched me deeply and made me miss my home country, making duaa that Syria will be at peace someday🤲⁠

Let’s be like Bana, and reach for the sky and Amal (hope)❤️

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