TASTING THE SKY: A PALESTINIAN CHILDHOOD, by Ibtisan Bara(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007).
In this powerful, groundbreaking memoir, Ibtisam Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. While TASTING THE SKY deals with many specifically Palestinian issues, it also explores universal themes of conflict with parents and society, the impact of war on children, and living a positive life despite hardships and tragedies. If connecting with the reader is an important aspect of literature, then this book accomplishes that goal. (Middle School and up)
The Middle East Outreach Council established the Middle East Book Award in 1999 to recognize books for children and young adults that contribute meaning-fully to an understanding of the Middle East. Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of the Middle Eastern subject, as well as on their characterization, plot, and appeal for the inteneded audience. Awards are announced in Novemenber for books published during the period from January of the previous year through September of the current year. For the purposes of this award, “The Middle East” is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Isreal, Turkey, and Afghanistan.