My Name is Bana is not a memoir, but it is the story of Bana Alabed. She was a young girl who saw that things were not right in her war-torn homeland of Syria. And she stood up and did what modern kids did. She Tweeted. This is not that story.
This is a story about Bana and how she is as strong as the tree she is named for. Bana’s mother tells her how the Bana tree grows strong. And how it is strong like Syria. And it is strong like Bana and her family are as they are now refugees starting over in a new country. Where Bana must work hard to be understood in a new language. And where Bana can tell you about some words in her native language and in English.
This is a story of being strong, being proud and standing up even when you want to sit down. The war in Syria is presented in a child friendly manner. This is done by the sweet, simple, but strong illustrations by Nez Riaz. The colors, lines, and ways presented make this book almost if this mother and daughter duo are off on a picnic. But when you see how war has harmed the Bana tree, then you realize the impact.
This combination of hopefulness and honesty is a surprising mixture, but it works well. While not all people (and children especially) can relate to a war torn world, they will relate to the idea for sticking up for what is right (you rejuvenate a rundown garden/lot, telling a bully to stop bullying).