Around the World in 80 Books discussion


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message 1: by A. (new)

A. Tebbs | 5 comments I'm a homeschool who's starting another semester of geography and history. My kids have already read the international books I have on hand, and I need new material for them, so I figured I'd ask the experts.

Do you have any recommendations for books that will give my kids an idea of what life is like in the middle east? Both modern and historic would be great. In the next few weeks, we're covering with Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia before moving onto Egypt. I'm looking for PG, PG-13 at most.

Thanks for your help!

message 2: by Mome_Rath (last edited Sep 28, 2017 09:26PM) (new)

Mome_Rath | 1319 comments For your historic background, I might recommend Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell and Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson. Both give a good history of why the Middle East today has issues based on colonial powers and the boundaries they drew. Also, if you're looking for an interesting geography project, you might try mapping out the travels of one of the Islamic world's greatest travelers, Ibn Battuta.
For shorter books for your kids, you might try a kid's version of The Arabian Nights, which might not be as ribald in places; perhaps something like Aladdin and Other Tales from the Arabian Nights. For examples of Persian poetry, I might recommend excerpts from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as translated by Edward FitzGerald. For an illustrated history of the Iranian revolution for young adult readers, I'd recommend Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. The autobiographical I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, which deals with a child who successfully won a case against child marriage in Yemen, brings up an important topic, but you would know best if your children are ready for this. If your kids are interested in Egyptian mythology, Rick Riordan has a series that starts with The Red Pyramid. For a modern tale from Egypt that talks of Muslim and Coptic Christian communities living together, you might check out Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery by Bahaa Taher; I don't remember anything questionable in the book, but I do think it would be more appreciated by young adult readers. Finally, many members of this group recently read and reviewed a young adult book about growing up amidst the turmoil in Damascus, Syria. The book is called A Hand Full of Stars by Rafik Schami, and you might want to check out the reviews.
Unfortunately, most of the Middle Eastern literature I've read is geared more for older readers, but I hope this helps for a start.

message 3: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (last edited Sep 29, 2017 09:33AM) (new)

Diane | 12845 comments How old are your kids?

Young Adult
Egypt: Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
Iran: The Bathhouse: A Novel by Farnoosh Moshiri
Iran: Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
Iraq/Kurdistan: Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird
Iraq: IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq by IraqiGirl
Israel: The Lady with the Hat by Uri Orlev
Israel: Real Time by Pnina Moed Kass
Saudi Arabia: Girl of the Book by Princila Murrell
Syria: Damascus Nights by Rafik Schami
Syria: Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair by Nujeen Mustafa
Turkey: Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian

Middle Grade
Egypt: The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr
Egypt: The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Iraq: Dear Blue Sky by Mary Sullivan
Iraq: The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley
Israel: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
Israel: The Song of the Whales by Uri Orlev
Israel/Palestine: Samir and Yonatan by Daniella Carmi
Kuwait: Summer 1990 by Firyal Alshalabi
Lebanon: A Girl Made of Dust by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi
Libya: The Shadows of Ghadames by Joëlle Stolz
Oman: The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
Saudi Arabia: The Green Bicycle by Haifaa al Mansour
Turkey: The Road from Home: A True Story of Courage, Survival, and Hope by David Kherdian
Turkey: On Two Feet and Wings by Abbas Kazerooni
Turkey: Leyla: The Black Tulip by Alev Lytle Croutier

Iraq: The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter
Iraq: A Fistful of Pearls and Other Tales from Iraq by Elizabeth Laird (folklore)
Iraq: The House of Wisdom by Florence Parry Heide
Yemen: Joha Makes a Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale by Eric A. Kimmel

message 4: by Kris (new)

Kris Williams | 17 comments Hi A. Tebbs,' Princess: A True Story of Life Behind The Veil' is an eye-opener for what it's been like growing up as a female in Saudi Arabia. So worth the read.

message 5: by A. (last edited Nov 23, 2017 09:36PM) (new)

A. Tebbs | 5 comments Diane wrote: "How old are your kids?"
Ages 12, 10, and 8
All very fast readers--too fast. I'm too busy to keep up with them, and want worthwhile readers

Thank you for taking the time to write out the list. Really want my kids to read the good stuff

message 6: by A. (new)

A. Tebbs | 5 comments Kris wrote: "Hi A. Tebbs,' Princess: A True Story of Life Behind The Veil' is an eye-opener for what it's been like growing up as a female in Saudi Arabia. So worth the read."

Thank you--I'll check it out

message 7: by A. (new)

A. Tebbs | 5 comments Mome_Rath wrote: "For your historic background, I might recommend Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell and [book:Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Impe..."

Thank you for taking time to type these for me. I really, really appreciate it. I just can't keep up with how fast my kids read and I want them to read books that will inspire them and help them appreciate life

message 8: by Mome_Rath (new)

Mome_Rath | 1319 comments No problem. Hope you and they enjoy some good (and inspiring) reading!

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