The boy who helped his mommy remember

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Pub Date 7 May 2024 | Archive Date 7 Jun 2024

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Adnan is the heartwarming story of a refugee boy’s attempts to heal his mother’s mental health issues with the power of his creativity as they rebuild their lives in their new home.

Sometimes, when something sad happens, people can push it so far down because it hurts too much.
That’s why Mommy doesn’t remember.

This touching and sensitively told children's book is a story about a boy and his mother, about trauma and recovery, and how to deal with the challenges of mental health.

It tells the story of an imaginative ten-year-old Syrian refugee boy who flees his home country with his mother. Now settled in the UK, he must use all his creativity to break through his mother’s PTSD or risk losing her forever.

The book is based on a short film of the same name, which has collected multiple awards and made Official Selection at its first Oscar qualifying festival.

Inspired by her own experiences as a refugee, Syrian artist Diala Brisly’s illustrations are powerful and evocative, highlighting the contrast between Adnan’s hope and the helplessness of the mother.

The charity Choose Love will receive 2% of the book’s recommended retail price on every copy sold. Choose Love (formerly Help Refugees) goes where the need is greatest. They fill the gaps and act where others won’t. Sometimes that means search and rescue boats. Sometimes it means providing food or safe, secure long-term housing for refugees. Since 2015, they’ve supported over 120 incredible projects and reached over one million people.

Adnan is the heartwarming story of a refugee boy’s attempts to heal his mother’s mental health issues with the power of his creativity as they rebuild their lives in their new home.

Sometimes, when...

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780711267091
PRICE US$18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 32 members

Featured Reviews

Heartfelt, beautiful story.
I think stories like this are a good way to stop and remember that children do endure heartache and trauma as well, regardless of what older generations think.

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Sometimes items that are in the news; unsettling scenes, upsetting pictures and daily headlines of terror and innocent loss of life, fade from our normal responses. We feel helpless, personally unable to make a difference, to stop the killing, the indiscriminate destruction of lives, homes and communities.

A book such as this has so much value. It helps one to address any compassion fatigue and empathetical blindness. Without the need for emotive words and political dogma it tells a simple story.

You cannot help to be moved by the simplicity of the unfolding story and the stark and expressive illustrations.

Above all, you will be moved. You may well feel just as useless to change the plight of refugees but you will find your heart. It still pumps and is filled with compassion.

Hopelessness is replaced by hope.
Appreciation grows for those working in this field and an admiration for those struggling to find security and safety again.

We should also see that trauma has a debilitating hold on those who survive and mental health wellbeing isn’t like a switch.

I am grateful for those who work with refugees and brought this book together. It is a story that needs to be told and amid all the inhumanity of war and hatred it is good to be reminded of one’s own human nature.

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Adnan: The boy who helped his mummy remember (Hardcover)
by Mark Arrigo

The story of over coming. A war has cost the family a lot. Adnan's mum has withdrawn. The book shows his living attempt to remind her of the strength she has given him. Great multicultural book, that is needed in schools as students are exposed to more and more refugee children from all over the world. It can show in first person the struggles and sadness of these moves. Being safe is not always easy to accept.

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What a beautiful story of restoration of traumatic memories, and refugee families. I think that this is such a necessary story in this world today. I recommend Adnan to everyone young and old.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an ARC copy.

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This heartbreaking and heartwarming story tells how Adnan and his mother go through so much, only for his mother to become trapped in depression. After his father and sister are killed in the war, Adnan and his mother flee. They are both brave, and Adnan's mother risks herself saving him from drowning.
Now that they are in their new home, Adnan must save her. He finds a way to help her remember who she is and they finally really start over.
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this

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incredibly touching. Helps understand the tragedy of war and how it affects people, how it can change us. Heartbreaking yet with a message of hope and a certain tenderness.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this book in exchange for my review! All opinions are my own.

I thought this book was super charming and sweet and it shared many important life lessons that children need to know from an early age. This boy was so good to his Mama and I loved their relationship. I also thought the illustrations were lovely and imaginative. If I had a child, I would read them this book!

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What a beautiful book with heatbreaking and yet hopeful messages. I loved the illustrations, especially as they were illustrated by a Syrian. A story I will not be forgetting

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I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. This is such a sweet but quite heartbreaking book from a more deep perspective. The illustrations are beautiful and Adnan is able to show us what they went through while having to flee their home and losing his father and sibling without being too intense so that it is suitable to explain the complex issue to younger readers. I appreciated the choose love page at the end to teach us as adults the more complex natures and showing an organisation that helps if we want to do something to help other children like Adnan.

Favourite Quote:
"Sometimes, things get thrown away when they have no purpose. But we found a new home a new purpose."

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A very moving tale of Adnan who is desperate to stir his depressed mother back into life. The fact it falls on a little boy’s shoulders- a boy who has already endured so much- is heart-wrenching. It is no wonder his mother is despairing as Adnan recounts their journey, and all its perils, to their new home.

There are so many displaced people, with horrific stories to tell and huge trauma. In Adnan, a spotlight is shone on one family and their desperate journey- by personalising the story, it might hit home harder with some people.

I liked the illustrations a lot and the use of colour particularly the switch to vibrant colours to mark the brighter days ahead.

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This was absolutely heartbreaking but suffused with hope about finding the strength to overcome deep sadness and recover. An ideal book to share with pupils who are learning about the struggles of refugees to teach them about empathy and emotions.

Furthermore I found the illustrations incredible powerful as they conveyed the range of emotions so well…Positively stunning! 🤩

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What an emotional and thought provoking story of the journey of Adnan and his Mother as they flee their home country for safety. Once safe Adnan begins another journey to try and make his Mother remember everything that happened so that they can try to be happy together again.

The story has been written in such a way as to make it understandable for young children. It introduces them to a perilous journey that too many families are forced to make in order to flee war torn countries to find safety. It also shows the lasting impact that trauma can have.

This is such an important book for children to read or have read to them, especially in this current climate. I would recommend reading it with your child so you can answer any questions they may have or support them in understanding the tough subject matter.

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This book is amazing and it left me with a tear in my eye. It's a very beautiful, very powerful and very important story to tell and for children to learn from. I highly recommend reading this book and talking about this topic with kids!

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I received this book for free. This does not impact my review in any shape or form.

Adnan: The Boy Who Helped His Mommy Remember, by Mark Arrigo and Steven Chatterton, and Illustrated by Diana Brisly, is a children’s story about a boy who, after escaping a war finding a refuge in a strange place, is trying to help his mother remember him. From using “trash” found around the city, to recreating some of the happiest and most heartbreaking memories from objects in house, Adnan perseveres, even if it may seem hopeless.

I loved how all encompassing Adnan’s mother was to him. After all, when you’re a child, most of the time, your parents are the ones you lean on to provide safety. Of course, this can be any caretaker, but growing up, you learn to lean on the people around you. So for him to take on this role when he’s this young demonstrates a level of maturity that most people will never know.

Moreover, I enjoy how, in the beginning, the illustrations are faded, as though Adnan doesn’t care about the outside world around him, just as long as his mother is okay. The more he interacts with her, regardless of whether or not she remembers, becomes more vibrant. It’s like nothing exists outside of her. It begs the question what would’ve happened had his mother refused to leave her depression, had he had to fend for himself as so many other children have done.

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A beautiful, moving, heartbreaking story. Beautifully illustrated by Syrian artist Diala Brisly who draws on her own experiences of being a refugee.

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Adnan is an emotionally-charged children's book about a little boy helping his mother remember their previous life. It's moving with such an eerie atmosphere in all of the illustrations. A poignant story about the heartaches refugees go through when starting over in a new country.

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I loved the little shared perspective on this topic of mental health. As a person whose parent struggles with a mental health illness, I understand this firsthand. I love that space is being made this topic. Even through their struggles, little Adnan persisted on finding a way to help his mommy remember. I love his fierce determination and gentleness towards his mother. This was such a moving read!

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I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

Adnan: The Boy Who Helped His Mommy Remember is a heartfelt story about a young boy called Adnan who longs for his mummy to reconnect with him and life in general. Adnans mummy has been in a deep depression since fleeing their home country due to war and conflict. She lost her other child and husband, leaving the family torn in half. Adnan recreates the memories of this time and events using household items to help his mother remember and see how much he loves her and needs her. He won't give up until she comes back to him and makes a special book dedicated to helping her. When his mummy finds the book, she sees how much her little boy needs her, and it brings her hope and realisation and helps bring her through her PTSD and depression.
This books illustrations are so powerful and captivating and really pull at your heart and soul. This brings to light the trauma and suffering refugees face and the ordeal they go through to live a free life we all take for granted.

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Thank you to NetGalley, the authors, and illustrators for this arc. This is a poignant, beautiful story that introduces children to the complexity refugees face as they try to heal and start anew. Definitely a wonderful addition to any classroom.

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