A young boy in Iraq yearns to taste the bananas that have been made unavailable by warfare.
Growing up in Iraq after the Gulf War, Mooz didn’t always like his name, which means “banana”. But when he learns the story behind it, he’s proud, even when being teased by his classmates. Now all he yearns for is to taste a banana—a lofty dream in a time when few countries are trading with Iraq, where bananas don’t grow.
Inspired by author Hasan Namir’s own childhood, Banana Dream is at once a celebration of a seemingly ordinary fruit and a snapshot of how war can alter a landscape. Artist Daby Zainab Faidhi’s background in architectural illustration is evident as she brings the story's setting vividly to life.
About the Author
Hasan Namir is an award-winning Iraqi-Canadian children’s book author. His debut picture book was The Name I Call Myself. He has also published books of poetry and a novel. He lives in Vancouver with his family.
Zainab "Daby" Faidhi is a conceptual artist, illustrator, and architect. Her work spans animation, illustration, art direction, and painting. She has worked on several short film projects that have won international awards, as well as the Student Academy Award. Cartoon Saloon's The Breadwinner was her first feature film, where she took part in background painting, set props' design and conceptual art.
Praise for Banana Dream
★ "This vibrantly illustrated picture book introduces children to the toll of war through a relatable experience: learning the meaning of one’s name. Mooz emerges as a fully formed, layered character, while the Iraq setting is richly drawn. The stylized artwork has an appropriately dreamy feel in places. What’s in a name? Plenty, as this clever and poignant tale makes clear."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"A good picture book choice for libraries needing stories to help young readers build empathy and understanding of other cultures as well as connecting to their own experiences."—School Library Journal
"Mooz makes a cheerful, appealing narrator. . . . The mix of digital, charcoal, and pencil art easily complements Mooz’s narrative approach, with vibrant colors and dynamic textures energizing scenes, while small visual cues—an "out of stock sign" and a war report on the television—place Mooz’s experience within the upheaval of Iraq at that time"—The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books