A young boy forced to live on his own by his parents. That's the story author Abbas Kazerooni shares in his new book, "The Little Man." But rather than being a tale of cruelty and sadness, it is a story of hope and love.
Imagine that you are only seven years old. For many, life is about playing at the park or hanging out with your friends. It is hard to imagine a young boy taking care of himself, living kilometers away from both his parents. It is almost unimaginable, that is until you meet Abbas Kazerooni.
Kazerooni re-lives his childhood in his book titled "The Little Man." "It is about the loss of a son by their parents and loss of parents by a son,” says the author. “And that heartbreak and overcoming challenges at such a young age -- when you are so innocent and being exposed to so much. Living in an adult world where the world is going over 200 kilometers an hour and it seems so much bigger than it is. And writing this journey for people who can understand and read it can relate to it some way or another. I learned so much.”
Like thousands of other Iranians, Kazerooni's parents wanted him to leave Iran for a chance at a better life. But unlike many of them, Kazerooni, who was seven at the time, was forced to flee to Turkey, all by himself. No father, no mother -- just a 7-year-old boy. As he explains, he survived in an unfamiliar country because he used the only thing he had to his advantage.
"He is the kind of kid who irritates you but you can't hate him. He is constantly bugging you and bugging you and pulling your shirt saying, 'Can we play? Please, please, please?’ But there is something in his cheeky smile that you can't say 'no' to and believe it or not I was actually a quite cute kid."
He explains in his book how using his cute face helped him secure jobs to earn money in any way a seven year old could. And just like a seven year old, hanging onto that money was a challenge.
"That kind of drove me. I was only eating one meal a day. I was eating bread and cheese or bread, yogurt, and cheese and bottled water."
A hard thing for a young child to do but Kazerooni says he was following the directions of his father and living to one day again see his mother.
"She is my hero. She is my everything and I wanted to do something in her memory, something that the world can remember her by."
Whether Kazerooni ever reunited with his family and how he left Turkey is revealed among all his memories of that time in his book. But he does share what he learned at such a young age.
"You have to believe in your hope. If I could just give that to one person I think I have changed their life for them and that's just the way it is. It doesn't matter where you are; I honestly believe you can overcome it. It's all up in the mind and that's what I want to portray to people."