Special Compilation for Elementary 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.

Mystery Bottle
By Kristen Balouch
Award-winning tale of a little boy in New York who is magically transported to Iran, where his father is from.

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.

Snow in Jerusalem
By Deborah Da Costa
An Israeli and a Palestinian boy must work together to save a stray cat that both have befriended.

The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey
By Demi
A story about a man judged by his appearance.

By Demi
A beautifully illustrated book on the beliefs of the Muslim religion for late elementary and middle school children.

Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile
By Tomie De Paola
On a class field trip to Egypt, Bill and Pete not only learn a lot about ancient Egypt, but they also confront the Bad Guy.

The Legend of the Persian Carpet
By Tomie De Paola
A Persian folktale retold by the author of Strega Nona.

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.

The Day of Ahmed's Secret
By Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland
A nicely written and beautifully illustrated story of a young boy in Cairo.

The House of Wisdom
By Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland
A beautifully illustrated story of a boy’s life in 9th century Baghdad.

Sami and the Time of the Troubles
By Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland
A haunting and beautifully illustrated story of a 10-year-old boy during the fighting in Beirut, Lebanon.

Folk Tales of Egypt
By Denys Johnson-Davies
A book of folk tales from Egypt.

By Denys Johnson-Davies
A brief, illustrated book of Arab folk tales.

Goha, the Wise Fool
By Denys Johnson-Davies
A brief, illustrated book of Arab folk tales.

One Night: A Story from the Desert
By Cristina Kessler
About a Tuareg boy in the Sahara desert waiting for a goat to give birth.

What's the Matter, Habibi?
By Betsy Lewin
A warm and funny story of a boy and his pet camel.

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 Lawrence McKay Jr.
A story of a 10-year-old Uzbek boy’s first caravan trip through the mountains of Afghanistan.

Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad
By James Rumford
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.

Sitti's Secrets
By Naomi Shihab Nye
About a girl raised in the US who goes to visit her grandmother in a Palestinian village.

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 Hundredth Name
By Shulamith Levey Oppenheim
A story of friendship and Muslim faith set in a village in Egypt. Nicely illustrated.

The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela
By Uri Shulevits
A fictionalized account of a Spanish Jew, who explored the Middle East and North Africa in the twelfth century (a century before Marco Polo). It’s nicely illustrated and in the form of short stories, a book you could read aloud to the class.

Nesma Buys the Beans
By Andy Smart
A Egyptian story of a little girl struggling to go out to buy beans for breakfast.

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.

Watermelons, Walnuts and the Wisdom of Allah and Other Tales of the

By Barbara Walker
A collection of Turkish tales about the legendary Nasreddin Hoca. The book has short, humorous stories with illustrations.

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.

Non-Fiction Books:

Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year
By Najmieh Batmanglij
This cookbook/cultural description has beautiful color photographs, ideas for cooking projects with children, even a cookie cutter. It’s a great resource for teaching about the Persian New Year holiday (Mar. 21), which is celebrated in several countries of western and central Asia.

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.

By Suhaib Hamid Ghazi
Describes the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

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!)

Lugalbanda, The Boy Who Got Caught Up in a War
By Kathy Henderson
A retelling of a five thousand-year-old story from ancient Sumer (now Iraq). This book won the top picture book award from the Middle Eastern Outreach Council in 2006.

Celebrating Ramadan
By Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
Bright color photographs help tell the story of a 4th grade Muslim boy living in New Jersey as he celebrates Ramadan.

Celebrating Norouz (Persian New Year)
By Yassaman Jalali
Description of the most popular Iranian holiday, Persian New Year, celebrated March 21st, the first day of Spring.

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.

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

Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354
By James Rumford
The true story of the travels of 14th century Arab explorer Ibn Battuta. Beautifully illustrated.

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.

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.

The Librarian of Basra
By Jeanette Winter
The same story as Alia's Mission(about the woman who saves the books in the Basra Library), but this version is written for children ages 4-8. It's short, simply written, and beautifully illustrated.

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