The First Assyrian Illustrated Children’s Book: Romil Benyamino’s “ܣܲܗܪܵܐ / SAHRA / MOON”


MoonSACRAMENTO, California USA – September 2009 – Today, many Assyrian families establish their homes in North America, Europe, and Australia where there is little pressure forcing the youth and newer generations to speak their native language in their homes and among friends. Romil Benyamino is a first generation Assyrian-American concerned about this issue, and recently, attempted to find a solution.

One method that Romil Benyamino has come up with is to encourage the use of the Assyrian language by means of art and entertainment. His first attempt was by creating several comical YouTube videos that, in fact, became fairly popular among the Assyrian teens around the world. He later decided to take advantage of his small fame to spread the word about his new project; one that is much more serious and more geared towards the smaller crowd, the Assyrian children.

Romil Benyamino’s “ܣܲܗܪܵܐ / Sahra / Moon” is the first illustrated children’s book, written in Assyrian; a playful bedtime story that takes our children on a journey into the wilderness to discover various animals and events taking place during the night. The story is written in Assyrian verse and supplemented with phonetic writing and an English translation meant to help parents read the story to their children and to help teachers teach the language to their students.

Issa Benyamin, the prominent Assyrian calligraphist said, “This, the smallest of works that has come from my hands, I have done with pride; I have met my responsibilities to my people; in my grave, my head will rest easy… I have no discomforts at all.” Romil Benyamino aspires to one day say these exact words.


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