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Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer. Ibtisam finds inspiration through writing letters to pen pals and from an adult who encourages her to keep at it, but the most surprising turn of all for Ibtisam happens when her m ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  128 ratings  ·  36 reviews


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Calzean
The author relates her life from 7-17 growing up in the West Bank controlled and occupied by Israel after the 6 Day War. She feels imprisoned by the Israelis and by being a woman in a patriarchal culture. At an early age she seeks freedom of choice and finds her voice through writing.
Her story of a blank whiteboard and how she reworked the cuttings from newspapers were examples of her gifts with words. So it is a book about the feeling of hopelessness that Palestinians face, the love of writing,
...more
Clay
LOVED. Balcony on the Moon, a lyrical sequel to Barakat's Tasting the Sky, relates her coming of age (age 7-17) in 1970s Palestine, where the situation has not much changed for the plight of Palestinians today. What triumphs over the pervasive, continuing, and understandable sense of physical loss and cultural displacement is the great spirit of young, bright Ibtisam, determined to be a writer, to go to school and college (unusual for girls), who does what she must with energy, gile,wit and cour ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

This is the author's memoir of her childhood, and is divided into chapters based on where her family was living at the time. They move from a more suburban house to an apartment in the city, and then out to a smaller town. Her father, who has narcolepsy, struggles to keep working, and at one point is so distraught that he loads the entire family in the truck, intending to kill them all, but deciding not to because they were all willing to go with him. The m
...more
Kirsten
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid-nonfiction
I picked this book up after enjoying the author's previous memoir about her childhood during the Six-Day War and its aftermath, and I enjoyed this book just as much. It reminded me of how much I take for granted about my life, especially the education opportunities I've had. I really liked the fact that the author refused to simply let familial and cultural expectations decide her fate, and that even though she was young, she never lost sight of the importance of human dignity and the value of e ...more
Sportyrod
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: palestine
Insightful memoir about a girl growing up in Palestine. The story is told using beautiful, creative words. The focus was on her hopes and dreams as well as stories about her family. I am glad the story was more upbeat and hopeful considering the events around her were devastating. The author shows alot of determination, courage and wit.

I feel like you could follow the author’s way of thinking and experience living in Palestine through her vision and words.

I particularly like the author’s pursui
...more
Annie
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This memoir reminded me of The Circuit and the series of memoirs from Francisco Jimenez. I really loved this story and rooted for Ibtisam, a true feminist. It has its happy and sad moments, but neither really define her life. It truly is her story of becoming an independent woman in day to day Palestine.
The Keepers of the Books
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Growing up in Palestine was not easy. Living in a time period full of turmoil and the Six-Day War of 1967, being a girl in Palestine was even harder. Inspired by her correspondence with her favorite author, Ibtisam wanted to be a writer. To do so, however, she needed a good education. With the support of her father, her mom and her pursue their education. In this memoir, she recalls what it was like for the women in her family. How her mother’s chafing against the cultural and religious norms of ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Review cross-posted from reviewer’s personal Goodreads account

Barakat, Ibtisam, Balcony on the Moon. Pgs. 240. MacMillan Publishing, 2016. Language: G, Mature Content: PG, Violence: G

Growing up in Palestine was not easy. Living in a time period full of turmoil and the Six-Day War of 1967, being a girl in Palestine was even harder. Inspired by her correspondence with her favorite author, Ibtisam wanted to be a writer. To do so, however, she needed a good education. With the support of her father,
...more
Kath
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful follow-up to TASTING THE SKY. On the surface, it's simply a biography of a Palestinian girl pinning her hopes and dreams on writing to lift her above the war, poverty and oppression she faces. Barakat is able to write the truth without asking for pity, which is difficult to do when talking about Palestine. By focusing on character development, the author avoids over-indulgence in history, allowing most of those details to be seen in the character of her father, who lives with ...more
Gwen
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked Balcony on the Moon as much as or more than her first memoir, Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood. As Ibtisam grows up, her spunky, engaged with life personality emerges: she sneaks away from home during the day to go work at a tissue paper factory, and then quits due to the poor treatment of workers, which she tries to stand up for. She endears herself to all her fellow workers, and her parents forgive her as well. They move often, so she describes the wide variety of neighborhoods ...more
Ashley Ruhl
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book, especially since I was unfamiliar with Palestinian culture and not very educated on the issues that they have faced. This memoir follows the struggle that the author faces as a female who wants to please her family but who also has huge aspirations of education and a career. While the plot was not particularly edge-of-your-seat exciting, I was drawn in by Barakat’s resilience and determination.
Indran Fernando
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: acquired, favorites
This writer teems with wit, confidence, love of learning, humanity and a sense of wonder. Her optimism and kinda different way of thinking reminded me a little of me. I would like to meet her. This was a rare book where the very last paragraph was among the best and most symbolically special in the whole book.
Anne
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well-written with a nice use of Arabic words, customs, and holidays worked in to the story to make it feel educational as well. I know more are the plight of the Palestinian person and about the culture from this book , yet I didn't feel clobbered over the head with the information.
Allison McKinney
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
For me the story was kind of boring in more of a fiction reader so that is part of the reason i didn't really like the story. But there were some parts of the story that I did enjoy. For example the part with the writing contest. Also the addition of the letters from pen pals help with the story.
Ainsley Goelz
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was okay, but I don't think I would ever read it again. It is about war, religion, and education. If that is interesting to you, this book will fight your reading needs.
Alexandra
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved this! The world would be a much better place if there were an abundance of driven wide-eyed knowledge seekers like Ibtisam.
Kaci
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
An autobiography of a displaced Palestinian girl growing up in Israel in the 70's and 80's.
Melissa
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
I received the print book as an ARC in a Goodreads giveaway. It was a quick read(I think it's a YA book) but I did like it even more than I thought I would. Definitely recommend.
Abbie
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, palestine
Read my review at Bookish Adventures.
Bella Branz
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was not really interesting to me. If you like nonfiction, war and religion this will be a great book for you.
Chalida
Barakat's memoir of growing up and going to school from 1972-81 in Palestine is a beautiful story of strength and determination growing up in chaotic political turmoil. Barakat and her siblings have to move 5 times during this period due to her father's work. One heartwrenching scene is when her father decides he wants to commit suicide and the whole family joins him in the car so that they will die together; thankfully it doesn't happen. Her mother talks about how getting married so young and h ...more
Liz Friend
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The story: Ibtisam shares her story of growing up in Palestine in the 1970s-80s, when dreams were real but just about everything else was in short supply. Her life is proof that with hard work (okay, and some luck) you really can make a better life for yourself.

June Cleaver's ratings: Language G; Violence PG; Sexual content G; Nudity G; Substance abuse PG; Magic & the occult G; GLBT content G; adult themes (religious extremism and warfare) PG; overall rating PG.

Liz's comments: It's a rare mi
...more
Hilary
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, tri-review
Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer. Ibtisam finds inspiration through writing letters to pen pals and from an mentor who encourages her to pursue her goals. Ibtisam’s greatest surprise takes place when her mother decides that she would like to seek out an education, too. By the conclusion, Ibtisam graduates from high school, lands a good s ...more
Macy Huang
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Succeeds everywhere Four-Four-Two fails. Even if its subject matter is much less dangerous and life-threatening, I still felt more suspense and interest in this book. Judged on its own merits, description and narration are vivid and lots of imagery is used. For one, the characters are compelling and multi-dimensional. It maintains a good balance from the beginning.
Amy
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really interesting memoir about a topic/place I know very little about (and probably wouldn't ever have picked up if we hadn't had a damaged copy at the bookstore this weekend).
T.J. Burns
I received a copy of this book from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Crie
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing read!
Maggie  Levine
rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2017
Rebecca Aguilar
rated it really liked it
Dec 18, 2017
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