PW gives starred review to Poppies of Iraq

“Poppies of Iraq” / Publishers Weekly, starred review / September 5, 2017

An Iraqi childhood is cherished, examined, and let go in this tender look at youth amid upheaval. The daughter of an Iraqi dentist and a French woman, Findakly recalls picnics alongside archaeological sites, memorizing verses of the Quran in school, and censored phone calls between family members, all with an adult’s heartfelt clarity. Though these memories are rendered whimsically, in delicate watercolors and a charmingly rounded style, terror is never far—she notes often which sites of her youth have been destroyed, rendered unrecognizable, or taken over by ISIS. This contrast is the book’s greatest strength: Findakly and cocreator Trondheim, her husband and an acclaimed French cartoonist himself, understand intimately that children do not stay children forever and innocence is not eternal. Neither, however, do they wallow—death is never far from the door in this book, but life still happens. Findakly’s story is an ode to a lost era, to be sure, but one with its feet planted securely in the present.

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