Friday, April 16, 2021

In honor of Arab American Heritage Month, our librarians put together a robust list of books for all ages. This booklist is intended to highlight Arabic culture, history, and authors.    

Children’s Picture Books     

  • Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns - Khan, HenaAminiMehrdokht (Illustrator) 
    • In simple rhyming text a young Muslim girl and her family guide the reader through the traditions and colors of Islam.  

  • Deep in the Sahara by Cunnane, Kelly; HadadiHoda (Illustrator) 

    • An Arab girl of the Sahara who wants to wear a malafa, the veiled dress worn by her mother and older sister, learns that the garment represents beauty, mystery, tradition, belonging, and faith. 

  • The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story -- Khalil, Aya 
  • The beautiful story of diversity follows a young girl named Kanzi whose most treasured reminder of her old home provides a pathway for acceptance in her new one. 
  • Like the Moon Loves the Sky - Khan, Hena 
  • Illustrations and prose inspired by the Quran celebrate a mother's love and hopes for her child. 
  • Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets - Khan, HenaMehrdokht Amini (Illustrator) 
  • From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes and traditions of the Muslim world. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a classroom reading circle and on a parent's lap being read to a child. 
  • On PointKhan, Hena 
  • Zayd is so excited to finally be on the Gold Team in basketball but when the team starts struggling and his best friend quits to play football he must step up for his team 
  • More to the StoryKhan, Hena 
  • As features editor of her school newspaper, thirteen-year-old Jameela Mirza wants to impress her father by writing a spectacular story about the new student, but a misunderstanding and family illness complicate matters. 
  • Under My Hijab-- Khan, HenaAaliya Jaleel (Illustrator) 
  • As a young girl observes that each of six women in her life wears her hijab and hair in a different way, she considers how to express her own style one day. 
  • Big Red Lollipop by Khan, Rukhsana; Sophie Blackall (Illustrator) 
  • Having to take her younger sister along the first time she is invited to a birthday party spoils Rubina's fun, and later when that sister is asked to a party and baby sister wants to come, Rubina must decide whether to help. 
  • King for a Day by Khan, RukhsanaChristiane Kromer (Illustrator) 
  • Even though he is confined to a wheelchair, a Pakistani boy tries to capture the most kites during Basant, the annual spring kite festival, and become "king" for the day. Includes an afterword about the Basant festival"--Provided by publisher. 
  • Lailah's Lunchbox by Reem Faruqi; Lea Lyon 
  • Now that she is ten, Lailah is delighted that she can fast during the month of Ramadan like her family and her friends in Abu Dhabi, but finding a way to explain to her teacher and classmates in Atlanta is a challenge until she gets some good advice from the librarian, Mrs. Scrabble 
  • Red Shoes – English, Karen 
  • Malika loves her new red shoes and wears them everywhere, but eventually she outgrows them, and her grandmother takes them to a second-hand shop--where they will become a special present for Amina (who fasted half the month of Ramadan) in Africa, who will enjoy her special red shoes every bit as much as Malika did. 
  • The World Is Not a Rectangle  Winter, Jeanette (Illustrator) 
  • A biography of architect Zaha Hadid, who grew up in Baghdad and went on to design buildings all over the world. She became one of the most irreverent, controversial, and celebrated architects in the world.  
  • Benito’s Dream Bottle by Nye, Naomi Shihab; Yu Cha Pak (Pictures) 
  • Fearing that his grandmother has stopped dreaming, Benito helps her to fill her "dream bottle" once more. 
Juvenile Fiction & Non-Fiction 
  • The Green BicycleAl-Mansour, Haifaa 
  • Since girls do not ride bikes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, eleven year old Wadjda has to scheme to get her own 
  • Other Words for HomeWarga, Jasmine 
  • Sent with her mother to the safety of a relative's home in Cincinnati when her Syrian hometown is overshadowed by violence, Jude worries for the family members who were left behind as she adjusts to a new life with unexpected surprises. 
  • The Turtle of Oman – Nye, Naomi Shihab 
  • When Aref, a third-grader who lives in Muscat, Oman, refuses to pack his suitcase and prepare to move to Michigan, his mother asks for help from his grandfather, his Siddi, who takes Aref around the country, storing up memories he can carry with him to a new home.  
  • Sitti's secrets by Nye, Naomi Shihab 
  • A young girl describes a visit to see her grandmother in a Palestinian village on the West Bank.
Young Adult 
  • Once Upon An Eid: Stories Of Hope And Joy By 15 Muslim Voices  
  • Day of Joy is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it's waking up to the sound of frying samosas and simmering pistachio kheer, maybe it's the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it's the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations 
  • Down and Across - Arvin, Ahmadi 
  • Sixteen-year-old Scott Ferdowsi's impromptu trip to a famous professor for advice about success turns into a summer of freedom that brings him answers in unexpected places 
  • Mirage Daud, Somaiya 
  • Eighteen-year-old Amani is kidnapped by a conquering regime and forced to be a body double for the cruel and hated princess Maram. 
  • We Hunt the Flame  Hafsah, Faizal -- LOCAL AUTHOR 
  • In a world inspired by ancient Arabia, seventeen-year-old huntress Zafira must disguise herself as a man to seek a lost artifact that could return magic to her cursed world. 
  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea - Mafi, Tahereh 
  • It's 2002, a year after 9/11, and Shirin has just started at yet another school. It's an extremely turbulent time for the world, but also for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who's tired of being stereotyped. She's tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments--even the physical violence--she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. She decided long ago not to trust anyone anymore, and she doesn't expect, or even try, to fit in anywhere or let anyone close enough to hurt her. But then she meets Ocean James. He's the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her--they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds--and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she's not sure she'll ever be able to let it down" 
  • A Maze Me: Poems for Girls by Nye, Naomi Shihab 
  • A collection of seventy-two poems written especially for girls ages twelve and up...First love, friendship, school, family, community, having a crush, loving your mother and hating your mother, sense of self, body image, hopes and dreams. An introduction by the author is included. 
  • Americanized: Rebel without a green card  by Saedi, Sara 
  • In San Jose, California, in the 1990s, teenaged Sara keeps a diary of life as an Iranian American and her discovery that she and her family entered as undocumented immigrants. 
  • Tasting of the sky: A Palestinian childhood by Barakat, Ibtisam 
  • In this 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. 
  • Does my head look big in this? by Abdel-MagiedRanda 
  • Year Eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith--without losing heridentity or sense of style. 
  • Saints and misfits by Ali, S.K. 
  • Fifteen-year-old Janna Yusuf, a Flannery O'Connor-obsessed book nerd and the daughter of the only divorced mother at their mosque, tries to make sense of the events that follow when her best friend's cousin--a holy star in the Muslim community--attempts to assault her at the end of sophomore year. 
  • My heart and other black holes by Warga, Jasmine 
  • Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness. There's only one problem: she's not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel's convinced she's found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who's haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner. Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other's broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. 
Adult  
  • I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir - Gharib, Malaka 
  • I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid 
  • A Word for Love – Robbins, Emily  
  • It is said there are ninety-nine Arabic words for love. Bea, an American exchange student, has learned them all: in search of deep feeling, she travels to a Middle Eastern country known to hold the 'The Astonishing Text,' an ancient, original manuscript of a famous Arabic love story that is said to move its best readers to tears. But once in this foreign country, Bea finds that instead of intensely reading Arabic, she is entwined in her host family's complicated lives. 
  • Mornings in Jenin – Abdulhawa, Susan  
  • A heart-wrenching novel explores how several generations of one Palestinian family cope with the loss of their land after the 1948 creation of Israel and their subsequent life in Palestine, which is often marred by war and violence. A first novel. Reprint. Reading-group guide included.  
  • The Blue Between Sky and Water  Abulhawa, Susan  
  • "Born of the violent, troubling history which continues to rage forth and claim its dead, [this book] is very much a novel of survival, and of the vivid, powerful women whose world they manage, with each day, to enlarge and to enliven" 
  • Against the Loveless World – Abulhawa, Susan  
  • "As Nahr sits, locked away in solitary confinement, she spends her days reflecting on the dramatic events that landed her in prison in a country she barely knows. Born in Kuwait in the '70s to Palestinian refugees, she dreamed of falling in love with the perfect man, raising children, and possibly opening her own beauty salon. Instead, the man she thinks she loves jilts her after a brief marriage, her family teeters on the brink of poverty, she's forced to prostitute herself, and the US invasion of Iraq makes her a refugee, as her parents had been. After trekking through another temporary home in Jordan, she lands in Palestine, where she finally makes a home, falls in love, and her destiny unfolds under Israeli occupation." 
  • Egyptian Diary – Platt, Richard  
  • In ANCIENT Egypt, Nakht records his experiences as his family moves from small town Esna to the big, exciting city of Memphis, where he studies to be a scribe like his father and helps discover who has been robbing graves. Includes nonfiction information about Egyptian CULTURE. 
  • How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Being young and Arab in America – Bayoumi, Moustaafa  
  • A study of the Arab- and Muslim-American experience as reflected in the lives of seven young men and women in Brooklyn evaluates their encounters with prejudice and their relationships with friends and family members in the Middle East. 
  • Crescent – Abu-Jaber, Diana  
  • Never married, living with an Iraqi-immigrant uncle and devoted dog, and working as a chef in a Lebanese restaurant, thirty-nine-year-old Sirine finds her life turned upside down by a handsome Arabic literature professor. 
  • The Language of Baklava – Abu-Jaber, Diana 
  •  In a memoir about the joys and difficulties of straddling two cultures, the author of Arabian Jazz describes her life in upstate New York with an extended Arab and American family, her family's move "home" to Jordan, and her return to the United States, exploring the role of food, cooking, and eating in shaping her life.   
  • Never in a hurry: Essays on people and places by Nye, Naomi Shihab 
  • Essays reflect on such topics as returning to her father's Jerusalem home, her six years of infertility, cleaning house, and the fun of gossip. 
  • 19 varieties of gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Nye, Naomi Shihab 
  • "...a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award, Young People's Literature. The poems explore the lives of people in the Middle East, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Publisher's Weekly said the book was "an excellent way to invite exploration and discussion of events far away and their impact here at home." (Wikipedia). 
  • Inclined to speak: An anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry by ChararaHayan (Editor) 
  • Presents a collection of poems by such Arab American authors as Samuel Hazo, Lawrence Joseph, Khaled Mattawa, and Naomi Shihab Nye. 
  • E-mails from Scheherazad by KahfMohja 
  • "Kahf’s two collections of poetry, Emails from Scheherazad (EFS) and Hagar Poems explore the struggle of Muslim women to reclaim their own identity and reverse American myths and stereotypes of the Muslim world, especially Muslim women. In doing so, Kahf alludes to Muslim Women’s forebears, such as Asiya, Mary, Balqis, Khadija, Fatima, and Scheherazad" (U.S. Studies Online). 
  • Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir by Abu-Jaber, Diana 
  • On one side, there is Grace: prize-winning author Diana Abu-Jaber's tough, independent sugar-fiend of a German grandmother, wielding a suitcase full of holiday cookies. On the other, Bud: a flamboyant, spice-obsessed Arab father, full of passionate argument. The two could not agree on anything: not about food, work, or especially about what Diana should do with her life. Grace warned her away from children. Bud wanted her married above all--even if he had to provide the ring. Caught between cultures and lavished with contradictory "advice" from both sides of her family, Diana spent years learning how to ignore others' well-intentioned prescriptions. Hilarious, gorgeously written, poignant, and wise, Life Without a Recipe is Diana's celebration of journeying without a map, of learning to ignore the script and improvise, of escaping family and making family on one's own terms. 
  • A game for swallows: To die, to leave, to return by Abirached, Zeina 
  • Living in the midst of civil war in Beirut, Lebanon, Zeina and her brother face an evening of apprehension when their parents do not return from a visit to the other side of the city. 
  • A red cherry on a white-tiled floor: Selected poems by MisriMaram 
  • "Syrian poet Maram Al-Massri writes of love and the place of Arab women in the modern age. "I am this mix between the submissive and rebellious woman," she writes, "my freedom is so difficult and so desired." Her poems - presented here in a bilingual format - invoke the intoxicating power of seduction and the intensity of lust, the security of relationships and the muffled explosions of emotion" (BOOK JACKET). Arabic language. 
  • Ya Maryam by Antoon, Sinan 
  • Nominated for International Prize Winner of Arabic Fiction 2013. The novel raises bold and difficult questions about the situation of minorities in Iraq, with one character searching for an Iraq which was, while the other attempts to escape from the Iraq of today. 
  • Birds of Paradise: A novel by Abu-Jaber, Diana 
  • After a five year absence, an eighteen-year-old runaway returns to her family in Miami to deal with the guilty secret that caused her to flee. 
  • The dove's necklace by Alim, Raja 
  • When a dead woman is discovered in Abu Al Roos, one of Mecca's many alleys, no one will claim the body because they are ashamed by her nakedness. As we follow Detective Nassir's investigation of the case, the secret life of the holy city of Mecca is revealed. Tackling powerful issues with beautiful and evocative writing, Raja Alem reveals a city--and a civilization--at once beholden to brutal customs, and reckoning (uneasily) with new traditions. Told from a variety of perspectives--including that of Abu Al Roos itself. 
  • Girls of Riyadh by Al-SaneaRajaa 
  • The tale of four young women university students from Riyadh follows their struggles to navigate the precarious paths between desire, fulfillment, and Islamic tradition while witnessing how the Arab world is being changed by new economic and political realities. 
  • Karnak café by Mahfuz, Najib 
  • In this gripping and suspenseful novella from the Egyptian Nobel Prize-winner, three young friends survive interrogation by the secret police, only to find their lives poisoned by suspicion, fear, and betrayal. At a Cairo café in the 1960s, a legendary former belly dancer lovingly presides over a boisterous family of regulars, including a group of idealistic university students. One day, amid reports of a wave of arrests, three of the students disappear: the excitable Hilmi, his friend Ismail, and Ismail's beautiful girlfriend Zaynab. When they return months later, they are apparently unharmed and yet subtly and profoundly changed. 
  • Cairo modern: A novel by Mahfuz, Najib 
  • In Naguib Mahfouz's suspenseful novel a bitter and ambitious nihilist, a beautiful and impoverished student, and a corrupt official engage in a doomed ménage à trois. Cairo of the 1930s is a place of vast social and economic inequities. It is also a time of change, when the universities have just opened to women and heady new philosophies imported from Europe are stirring up debates among the young. Mahgub is a fiercely proud student who is determined to keep both his poverty and his lack of principles secret from his idealistic friends. When he finds that there are no jobs for those without connections, out of desperation he agrees to participate in an elaborate deception. But what begins as a mere strategy for survival soon becomes much more for both Mahgub and his partner in crime, an equally desperate young woman named Ihsan. As they make their way through Cairo's lavish high society their precarious charade begins to unravel and the terrible price of Mahgub's Faustian bargain becomes clear. 
  • The night counter by Yunis, Alia 
  • A magic carpet ride examining the lives of Fatima Abdullah and her huge dysfunctional family. Imitating Scheherazade, Fatima spins her own tales to the legendary storyteller, Scheherazade. And she has plenty of material: Fatima is dying, and more interested in her prized possessions, including a house in Lebanon, than in reuniting her splintered offspring and her estranged husband, Ibraham. 
  • Origin: A novel by Abu-Jaber, Diana 
  • New York-based fingerprint expert Lena investigates a series of crib deaths that may actually be the work of a serial killer, a case that reminds Lena of the mystery surrounding her own childhood, marked by her orphaned status and her intuitive talents. 
  • Come with me: Poems for a journey by Nye, Naomi Shihab 
  • A collection of poems, including "Secrets," "When You Come to a Corner," "Mad," and "Come With Me." 
  • Everything comes next: Collected & new poems by Nye, Naomi Shihab 
  • Naomi Shihab Nye's most beloved poems, including "Famous," "A Valentine for Ernest Mann," "Kindness," and "Gate A-4," as well as new, unpublished poems.