Middle East Outreach Council (MEOC) 2008 Children's Book Awards

Established in 1999, the Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.  Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of a Middle Eastern subject, as well as on their characterization, plot, and appeal for the intended audience. For the purposes of this award, "The Middle East" is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

Nominations for the Middle East Book Award are made by publishers, educators, librarians and the general public, with eligible books published in the period from January 1, 2007 to August 1, 2008.  The MEOC Book Award Committee is a volunteer committee consisting of MEOC members representing primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions.

The 2008 MEOC award recipients are listed below.  To see full descriptions of the plot of each book and to see previous years' award winners, go to: www.meoc.us, and click on "Middle East Book awards" on the left-hand bar. For a more comprehensive list of other books available about the Middle East through CMES, please see the Lending Library Resource List.

PICTURE BOOK category:

Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad
By James Rumford
Grades 3-6
When bombs begam to fall, Ali drowns out the sould of war with a pen. Like other children living in Baghdad, Ali loves soccer, music and dancing, but most of all, he loves the ancient art of calligraphy. When bombs begin to fall on his city, Ali turns to his pen, writing sweeping and gliding words to the silent music that drowns out the war all around him. Gorgeously illustrated with collage, pencil and charcoal drawings and, of course, exquisite calligraphy, this timely and yet universal story celebrates art and history but also offers young children a way to understand all they see and hear on the news.

Four Feet, Two Sandals (Honorable Mention)
By Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed
Grades 3-6
When relief workers bring used clothing to the refugee camp, everyone scrambles to grab whatever they can. Ten-year-old Lina is thrilled when she finds a sandal that fits her foot perfectly, until she sees that another girl has the matching shoe. But soon Lina and Feroza meet and decide that it is better to share the sandals than for each to wear only one.As the girls go about their routines -- washing clothes in the river, waiting in long lines for water, and watching for their names to appear on the list to go to America -- the sandals remind them that friendship is what is most important. Four Feet, Two Sandals was inspired by a refugee girl who asked the authors why there were no books about children like her. With warm colors and sensitive brush strokes, this book portrays the strength, courage, and hope of refugees around the world, whose daily existence is marked by uncertainty and fear.

The Best Eid Ever (Honorable Mention)
By Asma Mobin-Uddin
Grades 5-7
It's Eid, and Aneesa should be happy. But her parents are thousands of miles away in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage. To cheer her up, her grandmother gives her a gift of beautiful clothes from Pakistan, one outfit for each of the three days of Eid. She even prepares lamb korma, Aneesa's favourite dinner, which they will enjoy when they return from prayers. At the prayer hall, Aneesa meets two sisters who are not dressed in new clothes for the holiday.Aneesa discovers that the girls are refugees. With their father, they have fled from their war-torn country. Aneesa can't stop thinking about the girls and what Eid must be like for them. That's when Aneesa comes up with a plan to help the girls celebrate Eid and make it the best Eid holiday ever.


The Apprentice's Masterpiece: A Story of Medieval Spain
By Melanie Little
Grades 6-9
A young adult novel set in 14th-century Spain, tells the story of a family with a secret at a time when the Inquisition brings intolerance and torture. Written in elegant free verse this is a dramatic story set in a troubling time.


Extraordinary Women from the Muslim World
By Natalie Maydell and Sep Riahi
Grades 3-6
This book, introduces readers to 13 Muslim women in history who have lived extraordinary lives and influenced their communities in a positive way, often overcoming extreme hardship and inaccurate stereotypes that have been placed on the role of women in Islam. In addition to showing the impact these women have had throughout the years, Extraordinary Women from the Muslim World seeks to make a difference in the lives of Islamic women today, inspiring them to fervently pursue their goals. All proceeds from the special edition hardback series will be donated to Islamic Relief to benefit the women and children of Sudan.


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