From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–This moving memoir of a Palestinian woman's childhood experiences during the Six-Day War and its aftermath is presented in beautifully crafted vignettes. Barakat, now living and working in the United States, frames the story of her life between 1967 and 1970 with a pair of letters from herself as a high school student in 1981. Detained by soldiers during an ordinary bus trip, she was prompted to try to recall her shattered childhood and share her experiences with others around the world. She begins with a description of her three-year-old self, temporarily separated from her family in their first frantic flight from their Ramallah home as the war began. The author's love for the countryside and her culture shines through her bittersweet recollections. Careful choice of episodes and details brings to life a Palestinian world that may be unfamiliar to American readers, but which they will come to know and appreciate. Readers will be charmed by the writer-to-be as she falls in love with chalk, the Arabic alphabet, and the first-grade teacher who recognizes her abilities.–Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* In a spare, eloquent memoir, Barakat recalls life under military occupation. In 1981 the author, then in high school, boarded a bus bound for Ramallah. The bus was detained by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on the West Bank, and she was taken to a detention center before being released. The episode triggers sometimes heart-wrenching memories of herself as a young child, at the start of the 1967 Six Days' War, as Israeli soldiers conducted raids, their planes bombed her home, and she fled with her family across the border to Jordan. She also recalls living under occupation and the thrill of being able to attend the United Nations school for refugees. The political upheaval is always in the background, but for young Barakat, much of the drama was in incidents that took place in everyday life.^B What makes the memoir so compelling is the immediacy of the child's viewpoint, which depicts both conflict and daily life without exploitation or sentimentality. An annotated bibliography will help readers fill in the facts. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved