Girl who tweeted of Aleppo's horrors gets a book deal

Bana al-Abed - whose book, Dear World, will be published in the autumnl - has said she is happy to have this chance to tell her story of what has happened in Aleppo to the world.
Bana al-Abed - whose book, Dear World, will be published in the autumnl - has said she is happy to have this chance to tell her story of what has happened in Aleppo to the world.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • A seven-year-old Syrian refugee, whose Twitter posts from the besieged city of Aleppo put a face to the country's civil war for thousands of followers and turned the girl into an international celebrity, has been offered a book deal.

"I am happy to announce my book will be published by Simon & Schuster," the girl, Bana al-Abed, wrote this week on Twitter. "The world must end all the wars now."

"I am so happy to have this opportunity to tell my story and the story of what has happened in Aleppo to the world," Bana added in a statement released by the publisher. "I hope my book will make the world do something for the children and people of Syria, and bring peace to children all over the world."

The book, Dear World, will be published in the autumn. A spokesman for the company would not disclose the financial details of the agreement or reveal if Bana had received an advance.

Bana's Twitter account - created last September and operated by her mother, Fatemah - has more than 370,000 followers. It highlighted the conditions in the rebel-held part of Aleppo during a government push to recapture what was then Syria's largest city.

Many early posts include videos of Bana speaking English, though she appeared in some cases to be reading from cue cards or reciting memorised lines.

Nevertheless, the posts, confirmed by the New York Times to have been made in Aleppo, went viral. The little girl, with a smile showing missing teeth and with bows in her hair, became a sensation, and she was followed and her posts were shared on Twitter by the likes of J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series.

In November, her mother posted that the family's home had been destroyed in an air strike. In December, the family reported from Bana's Twitter account that they had been evacuated to Turkey, part of a wave of refugees who were able to flee the city during an internationally brokered ceasefire.

Since then, Bana has appeared in photographs with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

She has used her account to call on world leaders, including President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, to help bring peace to Syria.

Last week, after United States President Donald Trump ordered a missile strike on Syria's air force, a message from Bana praised the action: "I am a Syrian child who suffered under Bashar al-Assad and Putin. I welcome Donald Trump's action against the killers of my people."

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 16, 2017, with the headline 'Girl who tweeted of Aleppo's horrors gets a book deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe