Adnan, The Boy Who Helped his Mummy Remember

Adnan’s mum does not remember; in this new place they now live in, she has retreated into a shell where the memories of the life they had to flee, too painful, are best pushed aside. Full of resourcefulness and creativity, Adnan sets on his own mission to bring his mother back to him. Cardboard boxes become a model of his grandparents’ house that they visited every Sunday and cut out paper stars remind them of the perilous journey they had to make to reach their new home. Bit by bit, memory by memory, Adnan builds up hope for the pair’s future in their new surroundings.

Through Adnan’s story, this both heartbreaking and heartwarming picturebooks gives a sensitive and nuanced insight into the challenges and experiences of many refugee families, including struggles with trauma and depression. Inspired by her own experience as a Syrian refugee, Diala Brisly’s illustrations use a mixture of watercolour and real material collages to contrast Adnan’s hope and playfulness and his mother’s all-encompassing sadness. As Adnan’s mother begins to remember and open up to their new life, the purple swatches dominating the early pages of the book are slowly replaced with brighter shades of green and yellow.

Adnan’s story carries an important message of tolerance and empathy for those who have experienced the unimaginable and offers a sensitive insight into the emotional weight carried by displaced children. An important read in today’s climate, this picturebook comes warmly recommended for young readers aged 5-7 and 8-10.

Book Cover - Adnan, The Boy Who Helped his Mummy Remember
Publication Date
May 2024