Golden domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan and Mehrdokht Amini
Magnificently capturing the colorful world of Islam for the youngest readers, this breathtaking and informative picture book celebrates Islam's beauty and traditions. From a red prayer rug to a blue hijab, everyday colors are given special meaning as young readers learn about clothing, food, and other important elements of Islamic culture, with a young Muslim girl as a guide. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is equally at home in a classroom reading circle as it is being read to a child on a parent's lap. (via Google Books)
Laith the Lion Goes to Palestine by Jameeleh Shelo
Join Laith the Lion as he takes a magical journey to Palestine! Little lions of any age can join Laith in his flying crib and make new friends in sunny Palestine. Inspired by the author’s son, Laith the Lion encapsulates the spirit and connection many Palestinians feel towards their culture, ancestry and homeland. It’s a journey of discovery, pride, and warmth that your child will want to experience over and over again. (via Goodreads)
Let’s Paint the Arabic Alphabet! by Sidrah Abdul
Teaching kids the Arabic letters can be incredibly fun! Let's Paint The Arabic Alphabet is a book that combines the art of story telling with adventures of animals, creativity, and learning letters by tracing! Children will be excited to read the story over and over again while they subliminally ingrain the letters in their memory! (via Mecca Books)
P is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi
The second edition of the best-selling 'P is for Palestine,' the world's first-ever English-language ABC story book about Palestine, told in simple rhythmic rhyme with stunning illustrations to act as an educational, colorful, empowering reference for children, showcasing the geography, the beauty and strength of Palestinian culture. Anyone who has ever been to Palestine (to some also known as the Holy Land) or who has Palestinian friends, colleagues, or neighbors knows that this proud nation, located on the western-most point of Asia, not that many nautical miles away from Cyprus, Alexandria (Egypt) and Greece, is at the center of our world. It is home to the sweetest oranges, most intricate embroideries, great dance moves (Dabkeh), fertile olive groves, and sunniest people! Inspired by Palestinian people's own rich history in the literary and visual arts, specifically by children's authors and illustrators such as Naji al-Ali (1938 - 1987), Ghassan Kanafani (1936 - 1972), and Mohieddin El Labbad (1940 - 2010) among others, an academic and children's author and a socially conscious illustrator have teamed up to create P is for Palestine--a book for children of all ages! (via Google Books)
Sesame Street, Palestine: Taking Sesame Street to the children of Palestine: Daoud Kuttab’s personal story by Daoud Kuttab
After a surprise phone call from Children’s Television Workshop, Daoud Kuttab took the chance of a lifetime to create a Palestinian co-production of Sesame Street. But the challenges of producing a world-famous children’s program quickly escalated beyond just teaching Elmo to speak Arabic.
From finding actors and puppeteers in a country starved of training to dealing with a community that considered the production too provocative, the early days were less than easy. Animating hand puppets against a backdrop of the turbulent Palestinian-Israeli peace process drew him into exciting, tense times that made Cookie Monster’s search for sweets seem like child’s play. Days after the first episode aired, Daoud was arrested.
Journey into Kuttab’s unusual world, where the signing of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Hollywood star Richard Gere, and the King of Jordan played important roles. Not even Kermit could have imagined this unique, exciting, and undeniably fascinating expansion of America’s most enduring children’s show into a new world bound by the West Bank desert, politics, media, and money. (via Audible)
Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye
Mona’s grandmother, her Sitti, lives in a small Palestinian village on the other side of the earth. Once, Mona went to visit her. They couldn’t speak each other’s language, so they made up their own. They learned about each other’s worlds, and they discovered each other’s secrets. Then it was time for Mona to go back home, back to the other side of the earth. But even though there were millions of miles and millions of people between them, they remained true neighbors forever. (via Simon & Schuster)
Sitti and the Cats: A Tale of Friendship by Sally Bahous Allen
A poor old woman who lives alone in a small village has a magical encounter with elegantly dressed talking cats, whose generous gifts help her bring an understanding of the value of kindness to a selfish neighbor. (via Bookshop)
The Boy and the Wall, a book written by the youth in Aida Refugee Camp
The writers and illustrators of this English/Arabic bilingual picture book are Palestinian refugee children in the Aida Refugee Camp near the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank...In the story, a Palestinian boy recalls one spring when a high concrete wall was built next to his home. The construction of the wall brought threatening objects and people such as heavy machinery, guns, gas canisters, loud army jeeps, and heavily armed soldiers. The children’s playground is buried as the gray construction covers the springtime landscape. The new gigantic wall brings many concerns for the boy: his soccer field, places to pick flowers, his father’s safety in commuting to work in Jerusalem, and his turtle’s adjustment to a refugee camp. This hard-to-believe reality is conveyed through a poetic tone to the narration. Portraying the boy’s experiences and thoughts through conditional statements reflects the boy’s longing to go home, which is not physically far away from the camp, yet politically distant. (via Shop Palestine)
Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!: A Palestinian Tale by Margaret Read MacDonald
There was once a woman who had a little pot for a child. Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!--that was the sound the pot made as it rolled everywhere. Unfortunately the pot wasn't old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. That naughty pot ran off with things that did not belong to her until she learned her lesson . . . the hard way! In this retelling of a Palestinian folktale, brought to life in dazzling, jewel-like illustrations, children will discover that there are consequences for taking things that don't belong to them. (via Google Books)
A Child’s View from Gaza: Palestinian Children’s Art and the Fight Against Censorship. 2012. (MECA)
After months of preparation, the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland cancels an exhibit of Palestinian childrens' artwork two weeks before the opening. Claiming censorship, A Child's View From Gaza presents the canceled show's artwork in full color pictures, along with published letters from supporters as to why the show was canceled. (via Goodreads)
A Little Piece of Ground by Elizabeth Laird, Sonia Nimr
Twelve-year-old Karim Aboudi and his family are trapped in their Ramallah home by a strict curfew. In response to a Palestinian suicide bombing, the Israeli military subjects the West Bank town to a virtual siege. Meanwhile, Karim, trapped at home with his teenage brother and fearful parents, longs to play football with his friends. When the curfew ends, he and his friend discover an unused patch of ground that’s the perfect site for a football pitch. Nearby, an old car hidden intact under bulldozed building makes a brilliant den. But in this city there’s constant danger, even for schoolboys. And when Israeli soldiers find Karim outside during the next curfew, it seems impossible that he will survive.
This powerful book fills a substantial gap in existing young adult literature on the Middle East. With 23,000 copies already sold in the United Kingdom and Canada, this book is sure to find a wide audience among young adult readers in the United States. (via Goodreads)
Farah Rocks Fifth Grade by Susan Muaddi Darraj
Farah and her best friend, Allie Liu, are getting excited to turn in their applications to the Magnet Academy, where they both hope to attend sixth grade. But when new girl Dana Denver shows up, Farah's world is turned upside down. As Dana starts bullying Farah's little brother, Samir, Farah begins to second-guess her choice to leave him behind at Harbortown Elementary/Middle School. Determined to handle it on her own, Farah comes up with a plan--a plan that involves lying to those closest to her. Will her lies catch up with her, or can Farah find a way to defeat the bully and rock fifth grade? (via Google Books)
Farah Rocks Summer Break by Susan Muaddi Darraj
It's summer break, and Farah is eager to attend an enrichment camp at her new school. But with car trouble and other family expenses, Farah's parents won't be able to pay for the camp this year. Taking matters into her own hands, Farah takes various odd jobs, including selling items at a yard sale, mowing neighbors' lawns, and finally starting her own tutoring business. When Farah discovers that someone is sabotaging her business by taking down her fliers, she's shocked. Can Farah find the culprit, continue her business success, and earn enough money in time to go to the camp of her dreams? (via Google Books)
Ibn Al-Haytham: The Man Who Discovered How We See by Libby Romero. National Geographic children’s books 2012
Celebrated in a film featuring Omar Sharif in his final role, meet the scientist known as the "Father of Optics," Ibn al-Haytham!
During the golden age of science, knowledge, and invention in Muslim civilization — also known as the "Dark Ages" in Western Europe — this incredible scholar discovered how we see and set the stage for the methods we now know as the scientific process. Packed with beautiful and engaging photos, kids will learn all about this fascinating scientist.
The level 3 text provides accessible, yet wide-ranging, information for independent readers. This book is a companion to the international educational campaign, "1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn al-Haytham," that includes interactive exhibits, workshops, live shows, and a 12-minute film starring Omar Sharif in his final film role before his death. (via Barnes & Noble)
Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Thirteen-year-old Hayaat is on a mission. She believes a handful of soil from her grandmother's ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti Zeynab's life. The only problem is the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank, as well as the check points, the curfews, the permit system and Hayaat's best-friend Samy, who is mainly interested in football and the latest elimination on X-Factor, but always manages to attract trouble. But luck is on their side. Hayaat and Samy have a curfew-free day to travel to Jerusalem. However, while their journey may only be a few kilometres long, it may take a lifetime to complete. (via Goodreads)
A Child in Palestine: The Cartoons of Naji al-Ali by Naji Al-Ali (Author), Joe Sacco (Introduction)
Naji al-Ali grew up in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in the south Lebanese city of Sidon, where his gift for drawing was discovered by the Palestinian poet Ghassan Kanafani in the late 1950s. Early the following decade he left for Kuwait, embarking on a thirty-year career that would see his cartoons published daily in newspapers from Cairo to Beirut, London to Paris.
Resolutely independent and unaligned to any political party, Naji al-Ali strove to speak to and for the ordinary Arab people; the pointed satire of his stark, symbolic cartoons brought him widespread renown. Through his most celebrated creation, the witness-child Handala, al-Ali criticized the brutality of Israeli occupation, the venality and corruption of the regimes in the region, and the suffering of the Palestinian people, earning him many powerful enemies and the soubriquet “the Palestinian Malcolm X.”
For the first time in book form, A Child in Palestine presents the work of one of the Arab world’s greatest cartoonists, revered throughout the region for his outspokenness, honesty and humanity. (via Penguin Random House)
Averroes (Ibn Rushd): Muslim Scholar, Philosopher and physician of the Twelfth Century by Liz Sonneborn
Abu al-Walid ibn Rushd (better know by his Latin name Averroes) was born in Cordoba, the capital of al-Andalus, as Muslim Spain was called. He was dedicated to the study of Plato and Aristotle, writing comprehensive commentaries on the great Greek philosophers who introduced Europe to the breadth of Greek philosophy. Known as one of the greatest interpreters of Aristotle, he provided a link between ancient and modern thought. Supports history-social science context standards mandating exploration of intellectual exchanges and contributions of Muslim scholars, and their influence on the science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, and medicine of later civilizations. (via Bookshop)
Avicenna (Ibn Sina): Muslim Physician and Philosopher of the Eleventh Century by Aisha Khan
Avicenna was considered a child prodigy by the age of ten, and became the most famous physician, philosopher, activist, mathematician, and astronomer of his time. He wrote more than 100 books, the most famous of which was Canon, which outlines the entire known medical knowledge of the period in five volumes. Supports history-social science context standards mandating exploration of intellectual exchanges and contributions of Muslim scholars, and their influence on the science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, and medicine of later civilizations. (via Goodreads)
Al-Khwarizmi: The Inventor of Algebra by Brezina Corona
Al-Khwarizmi is arguably the most important mathematician of the Middle Ages. He developed two distinct branches of mathematics, both of which owe their name to him: algebra and algorithms. This carefully crafted biography shines a long-overdue light on these achievements, documents Khwarizmi's contributions to geography and astronomy, and paints a picture of life in the ninth-century Muslim Empire. Supports history-social science context standards mandating exploration of intellectual exchanges and contributions of Muslim scholars, and their influence on the science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, and medicine of later civilizations. (via Goodreads)
Al-Kindi: The Father of Arab Philosophy by Tony Abboud
This life-and-times biography examines the enormous contributions of al-Kindi, a giant of Arab thought and science during the ninth century. The book delves into al-Kindi s work in philosophy, medicine, music, calligraphy, and mathematics, introduces the reader to the age and locale in which al-Kindi operated, and wraps up with his legacy and influence. (via Google Books)
Miral: A Novel by Rula Jebreal
Miral is a novel that focuses on women whose lives unfold in the turbulent political climate along the borders of Israel and Palestine. The story begins with Hind, a woman who sacrifices everything to establish a school for refugee Palestinian girls in East Jerusalem. Years later Miral arrives at the school after her mother commits suicide. Hind sees that Miral has the potential to change the world peacefully-but Miral is appalled by the injustice that surrounds her and flirts with the notion of armed resistance. Hind tries to get her to see other points of view, but will she succeed? (via Goodreads)
No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan
In No god but God, internationally acclaimed scholar Reza Aslan explains Islam—the origins and evolution of the faith—in all its beauty and complexity. This updated edition addresses the events of the past decade, analyzing how they have influenced Islam’s position in modern culture. Aslan explores what the popular demonstrations pushing for democracy in the Middle East mean for the future of Islam in the region, how the Internet and social media have affected Islam’s evolution, and how the war on terror has altered the geopolitical balance of power in the Middle East. He also provides an update on the contemporary Muslim women’s movement, a discussion of the controversy over veiling in Europe, an in-depth history of Jihadism, and a look at how Muslims living in North America and Europe are changing the face of Islam. Timely and persuasive, No god but God is an elegantly written account that explains this magnificent yet misunderstood faith. (via Goodreads)
The Shepherd’s Granddaughter by Anne Laurel Carter
Amani longs to be a shepherd like her beloved grandfather Sido, who has tended his flock for generations, grazing sheep on their family's homestead near Hebron. Amani loves Sido's many stories, especially one about a secret meadow called the Firdoos. But as outside forces begin to encroach upon this hotly contested land, Amani struggles to find suitable grazing for her family's now-starving herd. While her father and brother take a more militant stance against the intruding forces, Amani and her new American friend Jonathan accidentally stumble upon the Firdoos and begin to realize there is more to life than fighting over these disputed regions. Amani learns a difficult lesson about just what it will take to live in harmony with those who threaten her family's way of life. (via Goodreads)
The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye
A stirring anthology of sixty poems from the Middle East selected by honored anthologist, writer, and editor Naomi Shihab Nye.
This beautiful collection of eloquent poems from Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and elsewhere open windows into the hearts and souls of people we usually meet only on the nightly news. What we see when we look through these windows is the love of family, friends, and for the Earth, the daily occurrences of life that touch us forever, the longing for a sense of place. What we learn is that beneath the veil of stereotypes, our human connections are stronger than our cultural differences. (via Goodreads)
Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat
Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer. Ibtisam finds inspiration through writing letters to pen pals and from an adult who encourages her to keep at it, but the most surprising turn of all for Ibtisam happens when her mother decides that she would like to seek out an education, too. This memoir is a touching, at times funny, and enlightening look at the not often depicted daily life in a politically tumultuous area. (via Goodreads)
Beirut Noir by Iman Humaydan
Beirut is a city both urban and rural, a city of violence and forgiveness, memory and forgetfulness, war and peace. This short story collection, rich with moody suspense, brings this Middle Eastern city and its troubled history to vivid life—revealing the vast maze of the city that can’t be found in tourist brochures or hazy, nostalgic depictions of Beirut.
Featuring brand-new stories by Rawi Hage, Mohamad Abi Samra, Leila Eid, Hala Kawtharani, Marie Tawk, Bana Baydoun, Hyam Yared, Najwa Barakat, Alawiyeh Sobh, Mazen Zahreddine, Abbas Beydoun, Bachir Hilal, Zena El Khalil, Mazen Maarouf, and Tarek Abi Samra. (via Amazon)
Children of the New World: A Novel of the Algerian War by Assia Djebar
Assia Djebar, one of the most distinguished woman writers to emerge from the Arab world, wrote Children of the New World following her own involvement in the Algerian resistance to colonial French rule. Like the classic film The Battle of Algiers—enjoying renewed interest in the face of world events—Djebar’s novel sheds light on current world conflicts as it reveals a determined Arab insurgency against foreign occupation, from the inside out.
However, Djebar focuses on the experiences of women drawn into the politics of resistance. Her novel recounts the interlocking lives of women in a rural Algerian town who find themselves joined in solidarity and empower each other to engage in the fight for independence. Narrating the resistance movement from a variety of perspectives—from those of traditional wives to liberated students to political organizers—Djebar powerfully depicts the circumstances that drive oppressed communities to violence and at the same time movingly reveals the tragic costs of war. (via Goodreads)
Daily Life of Arab Americans in the 21st Century by Anan Ameri, and Holly Arida, eds.
This much-needed study documents positive Arab-American contributions to American life and culture, especially in the last decade, debunking myths and common negative perceptions that were exacerbated by the 9/11 attacks and the War on Terror.
The term "Arab American" is often used to describe a broad range of people who are ethnically diverse and come from many countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. Some Arab Americans have been in the United States since the 1880s. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 did serve to highlight the necessity for Americans to better understand the discrete nations and ethnicities of the Middle East.
This title documents the key aspects of contemporary Arab American life, including their many contributions to American society. It begins with an overview of the immigrant experience, but focuses primarily on the past decade, examining the political, family, religious, educational, professional, public, and artistic aspects of the Arab American experience. Readers will understand how this unique experience is impacted by political events both here in America and in the Arab world. (via Amazon)
I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad by Souad Mekhemet
In this compelling and evocative memoir, we accompany Mekhennet as she journeys behind the lines of jihad, starting in the German neighbourhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalised and the Iraqi neighbourhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another, and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. In her travels across the Middle East and North Africa, she documents her chilling run-ins with various intelligence services and shows why the Arab Spring never lived up to its promise. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner 'Jihadi John', and then in France, Belgium and her native Germany, where terror has come to the heart of Western civilisation. Mekhennet's background has given her unique access to some of the world's most wanted men, who generally refuse to speak to Western journalists. She is not afraid to face personal danger to reach out to individuals in the inner circles of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS and their affiliates; when she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits at her destination. Souad Mekhennet is an ideal guide to introduce us to the human beings behind the ominous headlines, as she shares her transformative journey with us. Hers is a story you will not soon forget. (via Google Books)
Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie by Rachel Corrie
How do we find our way in the world? How do our actions affect others? What do we owe the rest of humanity? These are the timeless questions so eloquently posed by Rachel Corrie, a young American activist killed on March 16, 2003, as she tried to block the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in the Gaza Strip. She was twenty-three years old. Let Me Stand Alone reveals Corrie’s striking gifts as a poet and writer while telling her story in her own words, from her earliest reflections to her final e-mails. Her writing brings to life all that it means to come of age—a dawning sense of self, a thirst for one’s own ideals, and an evolving connection to others, near and far. Corrie writes about the looming issues of her time as well as the ordinary angst of an American teen, all with breathtaking passion, compassion, insight, and humor. Her writing reverberates with conviction and echoes her long-held belief in the oneness of humanity: “We have got to understand that they dream our dreams, and we dream theirs.” (via Goodreads)
Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family.
The very precariousness of existence in the camps quickens life itself. Amal, the patriarch's bright granddaughter, feels this with certainty when she discovers the joys of young friendship and first love and especially when she loses her adored father, who read to her daily as a young girl in the quiet of the early dawn. Through Amal we get the stories of her twin brothers, one who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish; the other who sacrifices everything for the Palestinian cause. Amal’s own dramatic story threads between the major Palestinian-Israeli clashes of three decades; it is one of love and loss, of childhood, marriage, and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.
The deep and moving humanity of Mornings in Jenin forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining political conflicts of our lifetimes. (via Goodreads)
Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada by Wendy Pearlman, Rick Hale
This is the work of a young Jewish American woman who participates in free 10-day trip to Israel, then spends an additional 6 months living in the West Bank with a Palestinian woman and attending classes. Subsequently she studies Arabic at the University of Cairo and returns to the West Bank to interview Palestinians. Her 18 interviews with Palestinian individuals and families in the West Bank and Gaza are the substance of this book. Several of the interviews are with children and youth, which could be excerpted for use with youth groups. A powerful and clear introduction draws the reader into the interviews, providing succinct description of the failure of the Oslo peace process and its ramifications. All interviews were conducted in early 2001 and are very relevant today. (via Another Story Heard)
Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East by Akram Fouad Khater
This unique primary source reader provides first-hand accounts of the events described in Middle Eastern history survey texts. The text is organized into ten chapters featuring chapter introductions and headnotes. The primary source documents cover the late 18th century through the beginning of the 21st, exploring political, social, economic, and cultural history and infusing the volume with the voices of real people. (via Google Books)
Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales by Ibrahim Muhawi and Sharif Kanaana
Were it simply a collection of fascinating, previously unpublished folktales, Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales would merit praise and attention because of its cultural rather than political approach to Palestinian studies. But it is much more than this. By combining their respective expertise in English literature and anthropology, Ibrahim Muhawi and Sharif Kanaana bring to these tales an integral method of study that unites a sensitivity to language with a deep appreciation for culture.
As native Palestinians, the authors are well-suited to their task. Over the course of several years they collected tales in the regions of the Galilee, Gaza, and the West Bank, determining which were the most widely known and appreciated and selecting the ones that best represented the Palestinian Arab folk narrative tradition. Great care has been taken with the translations to maintain the original flavor, humor, and cultural nuances of tales that are at once earthy and whimsical. The authors have also provided footnotes, an international typology, a comprehensive motif index, and a thorough analytic guide to parallel tales in the larger Arab tradition in folk narrative. Speak, Bird, Speak Again is an essential guide to Palestinian culture and a must for those who want to deepen their understanding of a troubled, enduring people. (via UC Press)
Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat
In this groundbreaking memoir set in Ramallah during the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Ibtisam Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. With candor and courage, she stitches together memories of her childhood: fear and confusion as bombs explode near her home and she is separated from her family; the harshness of life as a Palestinian refugee; her unexpected joy when she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. This is the beginning of her passionate connection to words, and as language becomes her refuge, allowing her to piece together the fragments of her world, it becomes her true home.
Transcending the particulars of politics, this illuminating and timely book provides a telling glimpse into a little-known culture that has become an increasingly important part of the puzzle of world peace. (via Goodreads)
The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History With Documents by Charles D. Smith
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict provides a comprehensive, balanced, and accessible narrative of a complex historical topic. The narrative is supported by more than 40 primary documents that highlight perspectives from all sides of the struggle. Throughout the book, the author examines how underlying issues, group motives, religious and cross-cultural clashes, diplomacy and imperialism, and the arrival of the modern era shaped this volatile region. Maps, photographs, chronologies, public opinion polls, and discussion questions help facilitate student understanding. A fully updated final chapter makes this the most current history of the topic. (via Macmillan Learning)
The Baghdad Eucharist by Donna Antoon
Displaced by the sectarian violence in the city, Maha and her husband are taken in by a distant cousin, Youssef. As the growing turmoil around them seeps into their household, a rare argument breaks out between the elderly Youssef and his young guest. Born into sanctions and war, Maha knows nothing of Iraq’s good years that Youssef holds dear. Set over a single day, The Baghdad Eucharist is an intimate story of love, memory, and anguish in one Christian family. (via Hoopo)
The Bread of Angels by Stephanie Saladana, a memoir of love and faith in Damascus, Syria
A riveting memoir about one woman's journey into Syria under the Baathist regime and an unexpected love story between two strangers searching for meaning. When Stephanie Saldana arrives in Damascus, she is running away from a broken heart and a haunted family history that she has crossed the world to escape. Yet as she moves into a tumbling Ottoman house in the heart of the Old City, she is unprepared for the complex world that awaits her: an ancient capital where Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Kurds, and Palestinian and Iraqi refugees share a fragile co-existence. (via Goodreads)
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf (Schocken Bookds, 1984)
The author has combed the works of contemporary Arab chronicles of the Crusades, eyewitnesses, and often participants. He retells their story and offers insights into the historical forces that shape Arab and Islamic consciousness today. (via Goodreads)
The Edward Said Reader by Edward W. Said, Moustafa Bayoumi, Andrew Rubin
The renowned literary and cultural critic Edward Said was one of our era’s most provocative and important thinkers. This comprehensive collection of his work, expanded from the earlier Edward Said Reader, now draws from across his entire four-decade career, including his posthumously published books, making it a definitive one-volume source. The Selected Works includes key sections from all of Said’s books, including his groundbreaking Orientalism; his memoir, Out of Place; and his last book, On Late Style. Whether writing of Zionism or Palestinian self-determination, Jane Austen or Yeats, or of music or the media, Said’s uncompromising intelligence casts urgent light on every subject he undertakes. The Selected Works is a joy for the general reader and an indispensable resource for scholars in the many fields that his work has influenced and transformed. (via Penguin Random House)
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak (great insight about Sufism)
In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to her 2007 novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak unfolds two tantalizing parallel narratives—one contemporary and the other set in the thirteenth century, when Rumi encountered his spiritual mentor, the whirling dervish known as Shams of Tabriz—that together incarnate the poet's timeless message of love. (via Goodreads)
The Kahlil Gibran Reader: Inspirational Writings by Khalil Gibran
The Kahlil Gibran Reader brings together sayings, poems, and short pieces from one of the twentieth century's most revered writers. Born in Lebanon in 1883, Kahlil Gibran's groundbreaking philosophy and simple yet eloquent poetry made him a figure of international renown. His writings have been translated into more than twenty languages, and his reflections on the nature of humanity continue to bring joy and inspiration to millions. (via Goodreads)
The Magic My Body Becomes by Jess Rizkallah (2017)
In the magic my body becomes, Jess Rizkallah seeks a vernacular for the inescapable middle ground of being Arab American—a space that she finds, at times, to be too Arab for America and too American for her Lebanese elders.
The voice here freely asserts gender, sexuality, and religious beliefs, while at the same time it respects a generational divide: the younger’s privilege gained by the sacrifice of the older, the impossibility of separating what is wholly hers from what is hers second-hand.
In exploring family history, civil war, trauma, and Lebanon itself, Rizkallah draws from the spirits of canonical Arab and Middle Eastern poets, and the reader feels these spirits exorcising the grief of those who are still alive. Throughout, there is the body, a reclamation and pushback against cultures that simultaneously sexualize and shame women. And there is a softness as inherent as rage, a resisting of stereotypes that too often speak louder than the complexities of a colonized, yet resilient, cultural identity.
Rizkallah’s the magic my body becomes is an exciting new book from an exciting young poet, a love letter to a people as well as a fist in the air. It is the first book in the Etel Adnan Poetry Series, publishing first or second books of poetry in English by writers of Arab heritage. (via Goodreads)
The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, John Cullen - translator
He was the brother of “the Arab” killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling’s memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name—Musa—and describes the events that led to Musa’s casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach.
In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his broken heart, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die.
The Stranger is of course central to Daoud’s story, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Meursault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice. (via Penguin Random House)
The Modern Middle East: A History by James L. Gelvin (Oxford University Press, 2015)
In the wake of 11 September 2001, there has been much talk about the inevitable clash between "East" and "West." This book presents an alternative approach to understanding the genealogy of contemporary events. By taking students and the general reader on a guided tour of the past five hundred years of Middle Eastern history, this book examines how the very forces associated with global "modernity" have shaped social, economic, cultural, and political life in the region. Beginning with the first glimmerings of the current international state and economic systems in the sixteenth century, The Modern Middle East: A History explores the impact of imperial and imperialist legacies, the great nineteenth-century transformation, cultural continuities and upheavals, international diplomacy, economic booms and busts, the emergence of authoritarian regimes, and the current challenges to those regimes on everyday life in an area of vital concern to us all.
Engagingly written, drawing from the author's own research and other studies, and stocked with maps and photographs, original documents and an abundance of supplementary materials, The Modern Middle East: A History will provide both novices and specialists with fresh insights into the events that have shaped history and the debates about them that have absorbed historians. (via Google Books)
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, The Prophet, is one of the most beloved classics of our time. Published in 1923, it has been translated into more than twenty languages, and the American editions alone have sold more than nine million copies.
The Prophet is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death. (via Goodreads)
Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Phyllis Bennis
If you have ever wondered "Why is there so much violence in the Middle East?," "Who are the Palestinians anyway?," "What are the occupied territories?" or "What does Israel want?," then this is the book for you. With straightforward language, Phyllis Bennis, longtime analyst of the region, answers basic questions about Israel and Israelis, Palestine and Palestinians, the US and the Middle East, Zionism and anti-Semitism; about complex issues ranging from the Oslo peace process to the election of Hamas. Together her answers provide a comprehensive understanding of the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (via Goodreads)
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, Zeitoun is a riveting account of one family’s unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water. (via Goodreads)
19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye
Fowzi, who beats everyone at dominoes; Ibtisam, who wanted to be a doctor; Abu Mahmoud, who knows every eggplant and peach in his West Bank garden; mysterious Uncle Mohammed, who moved to the mountain; a girl in a red sweater dangling a book bag; children in velvet dresses who haunt the candy bowl at the party; Baba Kamalyari, age 71; Mr. Dajani and his swans; Sitti Khadra, who never lost her peace inside.Maybe they have something to tell us.Naomi Shihab Nye has been writing about being Arab-American, about Jerusalem, about the West Bank, about family all her life. These new and collected poems of the Middle East -- sixty in all -- appear together here for the first time. (via Goodreads)
"Different Ways to Pray," a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
Poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s richly evocative “Different Ways to Pray” finds a noble reverence in the way ordinary lives are led: men who had been shepherds so long they walked like sheep or women whose daily pilgrimage was not about Mecca but about lugging water from the spring or balancing baskets of grapes. (via Providence Singers)
Grape Leaves: A Century of Contemporary Arab American Poets by Gregory Orfalea and Sharif Elmusa
Arab-American poetry is an especially rich, people-involved, passionate literature that has been spawned, at least until recently, in isolation from the American mainstream. This anthology, reflects the current renaissance in the literature of what may be the latest ethnic community to assert itself.
Twenty poets are represented in this collection, fifteen of them living, five of them women. They start with Ameen Rihani and Kahlil Gibran and include celebrated contemporaries who write in Arabic or English or both. (via Amazon)
The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology by Nathalie Handal
This anthology was prepared to eradicate invisibility: to provide an introduction to Arab women poets, to make visible the works of a great number of Arab women poets who are virtually unknown to the West, to make visible many Arab-American women poets who are marginalized within the American literary and ethnic scenes, and to demonstrate the wide diversity of Arab women’s poetry, which extends to other languages besides Arabic and English (as in the case of Arab women poets writing in French and Swedish). This anthology seeks to unite Arab women poets from all over the Arab world and abroad, regardless of what language they write in and whether they were born in an Arab country or not. Its aim is to bridge the religious, linguistic and geographical spaces existing among Arab women worldwide...The volume incorporates the most accomplished Arab women poets of the twentieth century, including those of the distinctive new generation. It opens a door to a new and fast changing world where women are an extremely vital force in both literary and social terms. The introduction provides a historical overview for understanding contemporary Arab women’s poetry, including the singularity as well as the shared trends and movements in the work of these eighty-three poets. (via Nathalie Handal)
Zaatardiva by Suheir Hammad
ZaatarDiva is poetry about love, politics and Brooklyn, all coming out of Hammad's bag of zaatar. The poems in this collection are at once seductive and dangerous; they are possessed by a singular lyricism and awareness, and her call to action has a major presence in her work. (via Goodreads)