Sculpture alumna Diana Al-Hadid (MFA ’05) appears as one of 36 inspiring Americans in the new children’s book First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great. Written by Sandra Neil and Rich Wallace, with illustrations by Agata Nowicka, First Generation highlights Al-Hadid’s monumental sculptures in addition to her traditional Syrian upbringing.
Diana’s family left Aleppo, Syria, in 1986, when she was five years old. She spoke only Arabic when the Al-Hadids arrived in Ohio, and she quickly had to learn English. “I remember rehearsing saying ‘I’m not from here, I’m from Syria,’ but people didn’t realize where Syria was.” Though she fit in pretty well in her new neighborhood, Diana said her parents maintained strict traditions at home. “I wasn’t allowed to go to prom,” she said. “I wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend!” But she was free to pursue her love of art, and by the time she turned eleven, she was determined to be an artist.
Check with your favorite bookseller for copies of First Generation, available through Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Lead image by Sarah Trigg.