Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq by Mark Alan Stamaaty

If your country is about to be invaded by foreign forces whose military might is far greater than your country’s, what will you try to save? If you’re Alia from Iraq, it’s the books at the Basra Central Library where she serves as its chief librarian. And her effort has inspired Mark Alan Stamaty to write her story in “Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq.”

It is 2003 and any day now, the US and British forces are about to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime once and for all. Growing up loving books, Alia tried to sound the alarm for the need to save Iraq’s literary legacy but its government was unconcerned. So she resorts to stealing as many books as she could every day and keep them at her house for safekeeping. When the forces finally arrive…well, why don’t you just pick up the graphic novel yourself?

The best thing I love about graphic novels is that this medium never ceases to amaze you at what kind of stories they will tell. I cannot imagine Hollywood ever adapting Alia’s story which makes me grateful for Stamaty and Random House for introducing us to a real superhero in a most unlikely place and scenario.

– Elizabeth

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