How it all began…
First and foremost, BANANAGRAMS is a labor of love!
The original BANANAGRAMS game grew from a passionate love of games. As a family of three generations, spanning in age from 7 – 75 years, the Nathansons loved to play all word games, but no existing game had the speed and fluidity the family craved.
They longed for a game that was competitive, but that the family could play together – ALL ages at the same time. The game had to be portable for convenience when travelling, with no superfluous pieces or packaging, and simple enough game play so that it could be enjoyed while waiting in a restaurant or hanging around in an airport.
After marathon sessions experimenting with various permutations of word games (and subjecting extended family and friends to hours of testing), the Nathansons finally came up with BANANAGRAMS. The name originated from Abe declaring, “This anagram game will drive you bananas!” – hence Bananagrams! The family knew they’d hit the target with this game. They loved the fact that one round could be played in as little as five minutes, but found the game so addictive, it was always hard to put away! The pouch went everywhere with them. The kids wouldn’t leave the house without it - and still won’t!
The Nathansons didn’t set out with the idea of selling and marketing the game. They just loved playing it with friends and family, and started making a few extras to give as gifts. Eventually, someone suggested the game be shared with the general public, and it took off from there!
After a successful launch at the London Toy Fair in January 2006, BANANAGRAMS is now a modern classic.
It’s fast, fun, and exciting! The family feels very fortunate that the games have been so well received.
Thank you to everyone who supported the family and to all those who continue to enjoy BANANAGRAMS® as well as the other titles that have been added to the BANANAGRAMS family of games – Click here to see the full line up of new games.
Abe Nathanson loved his family and friends. He also loved wit, wordplay, and having fun with those around him. Without a doubt, Abe was the driving force behind BANANAGRAMS, and his energy and enthusiasm enabled the germ of an idea to grow into an international phenomenon. He was a creative soul with a zest for life and fun. Born in 1929, he was the son of a fruit peddler and grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Throughout his eclectic life, Abe not only served in the US Army, but was also a graphic and industrial designer, an artist, and businessman. In 2006, at the age of 76, Nathanson established Bananagrams, Inc. with the help of his daughter, Rena, and grandchildren, and the rest is gaming history.
Rena Nathanson, CEO of Bananagrams, Inc., created and designed BANANAGRAMS® along with her parents and her children. She successfully brought the game to the worldwide market, where it is among the top ten best-selling toys and gifts of the last decade. In September 2012, Mumpreneur UK named Rena “Inspirational Business Mum of the Year.” She currently splits her time between London, England and Providence, RI, home of Bananagrams, Inc.
"Today I want to talk to you about BANANAGRAMS®. It’s a really fun game between you and your friends …."
- Justin Bieber
"BANANAGRAMS® is so portable. I stash it in my car."
- Kristen Bell, Actress, PEOPLE
"BANANAGRAMS® go Hebrew. We’re kvelling!"
- Cool Mom Picks
"Can you spell P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-O-N?"
- Boston Globe
"Who’s up for a round of BANANAGRAMS®, anybody?"
- Jimmy Kimmel
"Good luck prying this anagram game [BANANAGRAMS®] away from students."
"Gotta love the BANANAGRAMS®"
- Kathie Lee Gifford
"I hope you, too, enjoy discovering the sheer delight of BANANAGRAMS®"
- Dame Judi Dench
"We play BANANAGRAMS®, which is fun but it also keeps your brain working."
- British Actress Haley Atwell
"Playing BANANAGRAMS®, with friends! I love this game! I was just named BANANAGRAMS® ninja! Be afraid, I’m amazing!"
- Kelly Clarkson
"Give it up for BANANAGRAMS®!"
- Ed Helms