Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bookmarks: Picture Books on the Middle East

I think a well-written picture book is the perfect way to show my children how others live - all without a passport or airline ticket. 

I shared a list of picture books about refugees a few months ago, but since my brother is serving refugees in the Middle East right now, we have been looking for books on both refugees and the Middle East. Here is a few of our favorites.

Sami and the Time of the Troubles by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heidi Gillilard, illustrated by Ted Lewin
For children like Sami, most of their lives have been spent hiding in dark basements in fear of the violence in the streets. Rich paintings show life in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon and the hope that someday the troubles will end.

Snow in Jerusalem by Deborah da Costa, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright
Two boys in Jerusalem's Old City care for a white stray cat. Living in separate quarters, the white cat helps the boys cross boundaries and form a friendship. Lovely water-color illustrations take you on a trip through Jerusalem's streets.

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes, illustrated by Sue Cornelison
Another cat story - but this one is true. Sura risks everything to take her children safety. With their beloved cat, they travel across the Iraq mountains and across the sea to Greece. When they become separated from their cat they expect to ever see him again.

The Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin
Follow Ahmed through the city of Cairo as he travels on his donkey cart to deliver fuel bottles. Cario, Egypt is actually part of Africa but I placed it on this Middle East book list because of the similarities of culture.

SteppingStones: A Refugee Family's Journey by Margriet Ruurs, artwork by Nizar Ali Badr
An incredible book sharing the plight of a young girl fleeing her home. The highlight is the artwork by a Syrian artist who uses sea-washed stones to illustrate the story. A reminder of the experience of thousands of people who are searching for safety for their families.

Do you have any recommendations of picture books that depict either refugees or the Middle East?

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  1. 'The Librarian of Basra' is a picture book biography of Alia Muhammad who saved 30k books in Iraq in 2003. Not a refugee, but a definite story of courage.

  2. Another good book is Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams about two girls in a refugee camp who share a pair of sandals.

  3. Thank you for this! I don't know any of these books and I will look them up.


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