Kids' Books Celebrating Arab-American Heritage

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Abery, Julie

A biography in rhyme relates the story of Olympic swimmer and Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini.

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Camper, Cathy

Yallah! From January to December, join some busy kids as they partake in traditions old and new. There's so much to do, whether it's learning to write Arabic or looking at hijab fashion sites while planning costumes for a local comic convention. With details as vivid as the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle perfume (made to remind Mom of Morocco), children bond with friends, honor tradition, and spend loving time with family. Accompanied by buoyant and charming illustrations, this portrait of Arab life and childhood zeal is sure to bring joy all year round. Back matter includes an extensive glossary and notes to enrich the experience for readers of any culture.

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Abu-Jaber, Diana

Desperate to help her ailing grandmother, Sami consults Sitti's spell book and falls into the magical Silverworld, where she must try to save the enchanted city and, perhaps, Sitti, too.

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Alabed, Bana

Bana's mother tells her of the strong bana tree that grows in their homeland, Syria, and how Bana's strength helped her survive war, being a refugee, and starting fresh in a new country.

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Aziz, Susannah

Every Friday Musa's family takes turns picking out a Jummah treat which they use to try all different foods, but when it is Musa's turn he sticks to his favorite halal hot dogs to share.

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Charara, Hayan

A young Lebanese boy must learn to cope with loss and hope for a peaceful future after losing one of his beloved cats because of The July War. Based on the month-long conflict between Lebanon and Israel during the summer of 2006.

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Darraj, Susan Muaddi

Fifth-grader Farah Hajjar and her best friend Allie Liu are hoping to go to the Magnet Academy for their middle school years, instead of Harbortown Elementary/Middle School; but when a new girl Dana Denver starts tormenting Farah and her younger brother, Samir, she decides she can not leave Samir to face the bully alone, especially since the adults and even Allie do not seem to be taking the matter seriously--so Farah comes up with a plan, one which involves lying to those closest to her.

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Ebeid, Rifk

When Saamidah, a young Palestinian refugee, is asked by her friends what her name means, she isn't quite sure what to say. She turns to her baba for some answers - but what she gets is an adventure beyond her wildest dreams.

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Feldman, Jacquetta Nammar

Twelve-year-old Yasmeen Khoury is unhappy that her family has moved from Detroit to San Antonio, Texas, leaving her friends and Arab Christian community behind; from the very first day at school Yasmeen feels completely isolated and out of place, but she slowly makes friends with a Mexican boy, Carlos, and her Jewish neighbor, Ayelet Cohen, although she feels like she has to hide these friendships, especially from her Palestinian father, a native of Jerusalem--more than anything Yasmeen just wants to be American but it seems like she can not escape the ethnic tensions that swirl around her.

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Jreije, George

After twelve-year-old Lebanese-American Shad Hadid discovers he is an Alchemist, he receives an invitation to the Alexandria Academy where he discovers not everything is as it seems, and shadowy figures are lurking around every corner.

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Khalil, Aya

Kanzi's family has moved from Egypt to America, and on her first day in a new school, what she wants more than anything is to fit in. Maybe that's why she forgets to take the kofta sandwich her mother has made for her lunch, but that backfires when Mama shows up at school with the sandwich. Mama wears a hijab and calls her daughter Habibti (dear one). When she leaves, the teasing starts.

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Latham, Irene

Alaa loves Aleppo, but when war comes his neighbors flee to safety, leaving their many pets behind. Alaa decides to stay -- he can make a difference by driving an ambulance, carrying the sick and wounded to safety. One day he hears hungry cats calling out to him on his way home. They are lonely and scared, just like him. He feeds and pets them to let them know they are loved. The next day more cats come, and then even more! There are too many for Alaa to take care of on his own. Alaa has a big heart, but he will need help from others if he wants to keep all of his new friends safe. 

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McCarthy, Cory, author.

Before Kahlil Gibran became the world's third-best-selling poet of all time, he was Gibran Khalil Gibran, an immigrant child from Lebanon with a secret hope to bring people together despite their many differences. Kahlil's life highlights the turn of the twentieth century, from the religious conflicts that tore apart his homeland and sent a hundred thousand Arab people to America, to settling in Boston, where the wealthy clashed headlong with the poor. Throughout it all, Kahlil held on to his secret hope, even as his identity grew roots on both sides of the Atlantic. How could he be both Kahlil Gibran, Arab American, and Gibran Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese boy who longed for the mountains of his homeland? Kahlil found the answer in art and poetry. He wrote The Prophet, an arrow of hope as strong as the great cedars of Lebanon and feathered by the spirit of American independence. More than a hundred years later, his words still fly around the world in many languages, bringing people together.

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Nye, Naomi Shihab

Eight-year-old Aref is excited to reunite with his father in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he will start a new school, and while Aref misses his grandfather, his Sidi, he knows that his home in Oman will always be waiting for him.

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Senzai, N. H.

After Nadia is separated from her family while fleeing the civil war, she spends the next four days with a mysterious old man who helps her navigate the checkpoints and snipers of the rebel, ISIS, and Syrian armies that are littering Aleppo on her way to meeting her father at the Turkish border.

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Tarnowska, Wafa'

Forced to take shelter when their Syrian city is plagued with bombings, young Nour and her cousin begin to bravely build a secret underground library.

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Warga, 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.

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Yuksel, M. O.

The story of Fatima al-Fihri, a trailblazing woman who founded the oldest existing and continually operating university in the world.

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Yūsuf, Bāsim

From Bassem Youssef, a.k.a. The Jon Stewart of the Arab World, comes a hilarious and heartfelt story about prejudice, friendship, empathy, and courage. Nadia loves fun facts. Here are a few about her: - She collects bobbleheads -- she has 77 so far. - She moved from Egypt to America when she was six years old. - The hippo amulet she wears is ancient...as in it's literally from ancient Egypt. - She's going to win the contest to design a new exhibit at the local museum. Because how cool would that be?! (Okay, so that last one isn't a fact just yet, but Nadia has plans to make it one.) But then a new kid shows up and teases Nadia about her Egyptian heritage. It's totally unexpected, and totally throws her off her game. And something else happens that Nadia can't explain: Her amulet starts glowing! She soon discovers that the hippo is holding a helpful -- and hilarious -- secret. Can she use it to confront the new kid and win the contest?

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.

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