(CONTINUED FROM PART ONE)
For many kids, the conflict in Palestine is a difficult topic to grasp. That probably goes for teens and adults as well, I’d wager. What Barakat’s book offers is a modest introduction to the history behind some of the troubles via her own personal history. People who would like to include this in a unit for teenagers could consider pairing it with Joe Sacco’s graphic novel Palestine for a more recent look at the problem. We may or may not see an answer to the hostilities in an occupied Palestine in our lifetimes, but at the very least we can know that there are voices out there like Ibtisam Barakat who are striving for a peaceful solution. As she says at the beginning, "Many countries have an intense involvement with the Israelis and Palestinians. But the approach of siding with one group or the other, caring about only one rather than both, seems to add to the strife." Let’s hope she has more stories in her to tell.
Notes on the Cover: It works. From a distance, the image of the young girl on the cover is only vaguely indistinct. Like you forgot to put on your glasses or there’s a bit of schmutz in your eye. On closer inspection, however, we can see that the picture almost appears to be a state of decomposition. The brightest section surrounds the little girl, implying that once everything around her was as bright and colorful as her small white shirt. The boy to her lower left is far less easy to pick out. Whatever it is that he’s doing, his actions are obscured by the encroaching darkness around the edges of the frame. There are moments of clarity here, but you get the distinct impression that they are short lived. With the clear and concise title above, Barbara Grzeslo’s jacket design clearly replicates the tone of the novel and the feel of the book. No author could conceivably ask for more. Well played.
Thanks to Culture Surfer for the links.