Special Compilation for Middle School Librarians

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The Butter Man
By Elizabeth Alalou and Ali Alalou
While Nora waits impatiently for dinner, her father stirs up a story from his childhood. During a famine Nora's grandfather must travel over the mountain to find work so he can provide food for his family. While young Ali waits for his father's return, he learns a lesson of patience, perseverance, and hope. Fold-art illustrations capture the Moroccan culture and landscape.

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arabia
By Mary Beardwood
This detailed encyclopedia entry focuses on the geography, cultures, and, especially, the flora and fauna of the Arabian Peninsula.  With many photographs, charts, maps, figures, asides, this exhaustive and beautifully illustrated text will answer every question you never knew that you had about Arabia on subjects from pearling to fossils, migratory birds to the many uses of the date palm. The sheer breadth of information will eliminate the narrow geographic and social stereotypes so many students have about the Middle East.

Extra Credit
By Andrew Clements
Abby Carson is a sixth grade student in rural Illinois whose head is everywhere but her schoolwork. In order to be spared the embarrassment of being left behind a grade, she agrees to an extra credit assignment involving writing to a pen pal in another country and so she meets Sadeed Bayat and his sister Meriem in rural Afghanistan.  As their friendship flourishes, problems arise on both sides. This is an appealing book with complex Afghan characters, providing a nuanced view even for younger readers.

The Breadwinner
By Deborah Ellis
About an 11-year-old girl in Afghanistan under the Taliban who has to disguise herself as a boy to support her family.

Parvana’s Journey
By Debora Ellis
A sequel to The Breadwinner, 12-year-old Parvana, separated from her family, sets off looking for them in war-torn Afghanistan during the time of the Taliban.

The Iranian Revolution
By Brendan January
This book is part of the Pivotal Moments That Changed the World series, focusing on the Iranian revolution of 1979. Instead of succumbing to the "clash of civilizations" argument, it delves into the deeper causes of the Iranian revolution, and brings the story forward to describe how the forces that triggered the revolution continue to play out in the troubled relationship between the United States and Iran today.  This book is a welcome entry to the corpus of research literature for younger people.

A Little Peace of Ground
By Elizabeth Laird
Award-winning novel about a 12-year-old Palestinian boy and his efforts to find a place to play soccer.

The Apprentice's Masterpiece: A Story of Medieval Spain
By Melanie Little
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.

Figs and Fate
By Elsa Marston
A collection of short stories about teenagers growing up in the Arab world today.

Extraordinary Women from the Muslim World
By Natalie Maydell and Sep Riahi
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.

By Naomi Shihab Nye
About a girl, Liyana, whose father decides to return to Palestine, a place that Liyana has never seen. Her friendship with Omer, a Jewish boy, helps her adjustment to a strange land, but the friendship is forbidden in a land torn by conflict.

A Hand Full of Stars
By Rafik Schami
About a Syrian teenager’s encounter with censorship. “If you tell the truth in Syria, you must pay with your life.” (grade 7 and up)

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust
By Karen Gray Ruelle and Deborah Durland DeSaix
When the Nazis occupied Paris, no Jew was safe from arrest and deportation. Few Parisians were willing to risk their own lives to help. Yet during that perilous time, many Jews found refuge in an unlikely place--the sprawling complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris. Not just a place of worship but a community center, this hive of activity was an ideal temporary hiding place for escaped prisoners of war and Jews of all ages, especially children. Beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched.

The Best Eid Ever
By Asma Mobin-Uddin
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.

Four Feet, Two Sandals
By Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed
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.

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
By Valérie Zenatti
Inspired by a true story, A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is the story of Tal Levine, an Israeli teenager who longs to strike up a correspondence with "someone on the other side."  She convinces her brother, who is serving in the Israel Defense Forces along the Gaza border, to throw a bottle containing a message into the Gaza Sea in the hopes that someone will pick it up and respond. In this way, she meets "Gazaman," a sarcastic Palestinian who, at first, only mocks her.  As their correspondence continues, however, their casual e-mail exchange turns into something deeper.  This "letter in a bottle" tale for the Web 2.0 generation does not shy away from deeper issues, especially in the wake of tragedies that afflict both Tal and Gazaman along the way. 

Non-Fiction Books

Tasting the Sky
By Itbisam Barakat
A beautifully written book about her childhood as a Palestinian refugee. Young people can relate to her vivid tale of youth, family relationships, and overcoming adversity.

Lebanon A-Z: A Middle Eastern Mosaic
By Marijean Boueri, Jill Boutros, and Joanne Sayad
An introduction to Lebanon’s history and culture seen through the eyes of an eleven-year-old boy and his friends.

The Illustrator’s Notebook
By Mohieddin Ellabbad
Award-winning autobiography (with photographs and drawings) of an Egyptian illustrator focusing on his art and how art is connected with his personal experience and the broader context of Egypt’s history. Low reading level.

Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak
By Debora Ellis
A collection of accounts of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by children ages 8-18.

Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists in the Middle Ages
A series of six books, each on a different medieval Muslim scholar.

Celebrate Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr with Praying Fasting, and
(National Geographic, “Holidays Around the World” series)
By Deborah Heiligman
Although it is at a low reading level, this book is even interesting to adults due to its great pictures and clear explanations. (It is National Geographic book, so the photography is amazing!)

If You Could Be My Friend (Nonfiction.)
Letters of Mervet Akram Sha’ban and Galit Fink, a Palestinian and Israeli teenager, who corresponded with each other for three years when “introduced” by a Belgian film director, producing a documentary in Israel.

By Dale Lightfoot
One of the Modern World Issues series. The book gives an overview of Iraq’s geography, history, government, and economy. Colorful pictures and maps make it student-friendly.

Inside Story: A 16th Century Mosque
By Fiona MacDonald and Mark Bergin
Detailed illustrations and clear explanations make this a terrific resource book with information about the building, religious background, and history surrounding the construction of a mosque.

By Sue Penney
From the “Introducing Religions” series, this gives an overview of the Muslim faith.

Foods of Iran
By Barbara Sheen
Beautiful photographs and clear prose show a lot about Iranian culture through a description of the food. There are recipes, cultural descriptions, and details about how the food is grown and sold.

By Jane Shuter
A beautifully illustrated, well organized short book about Mesopotamia from the “Excavating the Past” series.

Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq
By Mark Alan Stamaty
A graphic novel telling the true story of a woman’s struggle to save the books in the Basra library during the 2003 war in Iraq. It’s a simple story, but the graphic novel style would appeal to some upper elementary and middle school readers.

Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry
By Daud Sutton
Focusing on Islamic geometric patterns, simple and complex, man-made and in nature, this book offers unique insight into Islamic culture.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict
By Richard Worth
An Open for Debate book which shows the main issues for both Palestinians and Israelis. Grades 7 and up.


Inside Mecca
A National Geographic special about the Muslim pilgrimage and its rituals.
60 minutes.

Secrets of Lost Empires: Pyramid (2007)
Nova special
VHS format. 60 miutes

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