Green Bean Books

A Boy from Baghdad

Written by Miriam Halahmy

Price: £9.99 / $12.99
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781784389901

Book available from October 2023


  • Tells the story of the Shashas, a Jewish family that leaves Iraq for Israel in 1951
  • Details the family’s hardship as they are forced to leave their country and shows how they overcome these struggles to build a new life in their new home
  • Focuses on twelve-year-old Salman Shasha, an avid swimmer who, by means of his talent and his passion, finds a way to adjust to this new country while remaining true to himself
  • An accurate representation of the struggle of Iraqi Jews in the 20th century, Halahmy sheds light on a struggle that is rarely heard, and tells a story that is hugely important
  • Middle-grade novel for children between the ages of 8 and 12


“Jews are no longer safe in Iraq. When are you going to get it through your thick head?”

It’s 1951, and twelve-year-old Salman Shasha is happy with his life in Baghdad. But trouble is brewing. Salman and his family are Iraqi Jews and their government has been turning against their community for years. Things become so dangerous that the whole family are forced to leave Iraq for Israel, the “Promised Land”.

Once they arrive, however, they realise that things are not what they dreamed they would be. Taken to a refugee camp, the Shasha family try to make the best of their situation. But the dominant group in the country – the Ashkenazi Jews – look down on families like Salman’s and treat them horribly. Salman decides to focus on his greatest passion, swimming, and beating his rivals in a race. Facing taunts from his bullying peers, Salman feels defeated, but he soon realises that with hard work and determination anything is possible.

An inspiring, atmospheric tale about the power of perseverance, friendship and family in the face of hardship, hatred and change, A Boy From Baghdad is an important story of diversity in the modern world. Essential reading for any child 8 years and over.

Author Details

Miriam Halahmy is a prolific writer who has written novels, short stories and poetry for children, teens and adults. Her books include The Emergency Zoo, Behind Closed Doors, Hidden and Always Here for You. She is twice-nominated Carnegie Medal. Miriam has worked with refugees in schools and in workshops in collaboration with PEN and the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture, and frequently visits schools, colleges, universities and literary festivals both virtually and in person, in the UK and abroad.