Children's book about Syrian refugees offers introduction to world politics

Author Alhan Rahimi, a former Montrealer, says the book is meant for children aged 3 to 7

Alhan Rahimi

Alhan Rahimi says her book follows the fictional Yara's first day at school in Canada. (Submitted by Alhan Rahimi)


Former Montrealer Alhan Rahimi took inspiration from the influx of Syrian refugees into Canada last year for her new children's book, Yara, My Friend From Syria.

The story follows the adventures of a fictional Syrian girl named Yara, on her first day of school in Canada.

Rahimi, who now lives in Parry Sound, Ont., says she noticed that few writers had tackled the subject of incoming Syrian refugees in a way that was accessible to children — in this case, three to seven-year-olds.

"I really think that children are mature in ways that they can understand these things that are happening around us if they are told in a children's language," she told CBC Montreal.


Yara has mixed emotions as she meets her classmates and teacher on her first day of school. (Yara, My Friend From Syria/Amazon)

Yara has mixed emotions as she meets her new classmates — she is happy to be in school again, but sad to be away from home.

Rahimi, who also works as an Arabic translator, says it's the first in a series of books she hopes will hold valuable lessons for children.

"This book is trying to emphasize two main goals. The first one is to plant good qualities in children and the second is to increase their awareness of global affairs," she said.

She hopes Yara's story will resonate with kids from all walks of life.

"I think Yara is every child who had to leave their home," said Rahimi.

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