The US published picture book My Name Was Hussein narrates both in words and pictures the childhood memories of Hristo Kyuchukov. The author recounts his family’s experience during the process of renaming of all citizens with Muslim names in the so-called Vǎzroditelen proces in Communist Bulgaria. The illustrations are by Allan Eitzen.
The book can be seen as following into two parts. The first describes the happy life of the extended family in the Romani mahala, particularly the Ramadan celebration customs, while the second recounts how everything is turned upside down when the family is forced to change their Muslim names to Bulgarian (Christian) ones.
Through the eyes of the child and using the first-person narrative, the author depicts one of the most traumatic episodes in Communist Bulgaria, which saw the culmination of the decades-long policy of trying to ‘erase’ the Muslim (that is, Turkish) heritage and turning all Bulgarian citizens into ethnic Bulgarians. All Bulgarian Muslim Roma were affected, too. The book is not only about the shock and the trauma but also about the strength of identity, adaptation and resistance (at home the families continued to cherish their customs and continued to use their original names).