Friday, April 27, 2007

Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat

In her memoir, Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world, and the world of her parents,is shattered by war. She shares her memories of the Six Day War, fleeing alone as a 3 year old because she is inadvertently left behind in a flood of fleeing refugees. Reunited with her family, she evokes the sights, sounds, fears and small joys in trying to keep safe and to go on with life.
In a UN school for refugee children, the child is unexpectedly filled with pleasure as she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and the beginning of her journey into language. Although her mother cautions her to forget war and privation, she discovers that language can be both a refuge and a deliverance.

Author Naomi Shihab Nye says: "Nothing is missing in this exquisite, tender account of a Palestinian childhood--love, attachment, struggle, fear, humor, resilience. Ibtisam Barakat is a luminous writer and thinker. She is a wonderful healer, too."
Older middle-schoolers and teens will find this book of great interest.

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