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Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine

by Ibtisam Barakat

Published by Margaret Ferguson Books / Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016
217 pages
ISBN: 978-0-374-30251-1

Age 12 and older

A follow-up to Tasting the Sky, a memoir of her childhood, easily stands on its own as Ibtisam Barakat describes her middle and late childhood and early young adulthood in the West Bank during the 1970s. An introduction by the author provides essential information to ground readers in the political reality in the Middle East that was the backdrop of her coming of age. Ibtisam is passionate about learning and education and eventually decides she wants to be a writer. While Ibtisam is in high school her mother, who left school in 6th grade, decides she wants to go back to her studies. It’s an idea Ibtisam’s father initially is reluctant to support (but eventually takes pride in), while Ibtisam throws herself into helping her mother prepare. One of the standout elements of this memoir is the way Barakat writes about her family with such exasperation, understanding, and tenderness, beautifully and honestly revealing details of their lives. It also illuminates the experience of being Palestinian, a “homeless people,” and of being a girl and young woman defying cultural and sometimes familial expectations to pursue her dreams. (Age 12 and older)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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