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Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood Paperback – Illustrated, October 25, 2016
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"Beautifully crafted vignettes . . .[bring] 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." --"School Library Journal"
About the Author
A bilingual speaker of Arabic and English, Ibtisam Barakat grew up in Ramallah, West Bank, and now lives in the United States. Her work focuses on healing social injustices and the hurts of wars, especially those involving young people. Ibtisam emphasizes that conflicts are more likely to be resolved with creativity, kindness, and inclusion rather than with force, violence, and exclusion. Her educational programs include Growing Up Palestinian; Healing the Hurts of War; The ABCs of Understanding Islam; Arab Culture, The Mideast Conflict; and Building Peace. The ABCs was selected by the Missouri Humanities Council as one of its Speaker Bureau programs in 2003 and 2004.
Ibtisam has taught language ethics courses -- Language Uses and Abuses -- at Stephens College (2002). She is also the founder of Write Your Life (WYL) seminars and has led WYL seminars in places including Morocco, Washington, D.C., Missouri, and Ramallah.
In 2001, Ibtisam was a delegate to the third United Nations conference on the elimination of racism, which was held in Durban, South Africa. In 2004, she was a visiting writer at the Creativity for Peace camp, which brought Israeli and Palestinian teenage girls to Santa Fe to provide an opportunity for them to live together in cooperation and peace. In January 2005, she was a moderator at the fourth international Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace conference in Jerusalem, where Israeli, Palestinian, and international faculty members and students work toward finding creative ways to bring about peace for Israel and Palestine.
As an educator, poet, and peace activist, Ibtisam has spoken at the Center for Southern Literature / Margaret Mitchell House and Museum; William Woods College; Missouri Historic Theater; Dartmouth College; Printers Row Book Fair in Chicago; PEN New England; National Writers Union / New Jersey chapter; the International Children’s Literature Day / University of Wisconsin; Children’s Literature New England / Williams College; North Carolina Center for Advancement of Teaching; Reading the World / University of San Francisco; and various high schools, including the school district of Anchorage, Alaska.
Ibtisam Barakat lives in Columbia, Missouri. TASTING THE SKY is her first book.
- Publisher : Square Fish; Illustrated edition (October 25, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250097185
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250097187
- Reading age : 11 - 15 years
- Lexile measure : 870L
- Grade level : 7 - 6
- Item Weight : 6.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.57 x 0.6 x 8.27 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #132,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This account is a flashback told in the innocent voice of a three-and-a-half-year-old girl who is separated from her parents, for a whole day, during the six-day war in 1967. As the planes fly overhead, the family flees their home. Ibtisam who is still trying to lace up her left shoe suddenly realizes that there’s no one there. As fear strikes her little heart she leaves her right shoe and goes out into the dark. The courage and endurance of this little girl, in her quest to reunite with her parents is heart wrenching.
Ibtisam Barakat draws you into her innocent, patient, persistent and very imaginative little life with magic strings that she weaves with her words and metaphors. She makes friends with a baby donkey in whom she confides. When she must leave him behind, she makes friends with the first letter of the alphabet and confides in the piece of chalk that drew him, until it finally crumbles into dust. This child’s life is full of fear, courage, agony, happiness, love, disappointment, and fulfillment as she endures the occupation along with her family.
The book ends in 1971 when a broken hearted Ibtisam moves again from her childhood home, this time for good.
In writing this book the author frees herself of the emotions that compelled her to shield her childhood. Her story is not done though. It continues in her next book Balcony on the Moon: Coming of age in Palestine… My next read.
I met the author, Ibtisam Barakat, at my school last semester, and she's amazing as well. I hope everyone who is anti-Palestine reads her work or hears her speak and realizes that these are actual human beings with families and lives who are being torn apart and threatened by the occupation.
While many parts of the story were sad there was also an excellent sense of humor through the story. The chapter on circumcision was especially funny (and terrifying) especially as this topic was new to my daughter.
I know we can debate Israel/Palestine until the end of time but as a resource to show how these conflicts affect us as children this story was an invaluable resource.
Is so super good.
There is a "historical note" at the end that does not match at all, as if
written by some editor not the author.
The book itself though is perfect.
Vivid kindnesses from
a Palestinian Blackgirl's perspective. Beautiful
and vegan too!