April Is National Arab American Heritage Month!

“During the month of April, the Arab America Foundation formally recognizes the achievements of Arab Americans through the celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM). Across the country, cultural institutions, school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, public servants, and non-profit organizations issue proclamations and engage in special events that celebrate our community’s rich heritage and numerous contributions to society” (Arab America Foundation).

CA Library recognizes the rich cultural heritage of Arab Americans by highlighting books, eBooks and audiobooks by Arab American authors and featuring Arab American characters…

Call me American : the extraordinary true story of a young Somali immigrant Call Me American: The Extraordinary True Story of a Young Somali Immigrant by Abdi Nor Iftin — Adapted from the adult memoir, an intimate portrait of modern immigration describes how the author’s family was forced by war to leave their home in Somalia before he received an opportunity to win the annual U.S. visa lottery. Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

“This remarkable, nuanced story facilitates a deeper understanding of immigration today” (Kirkus Reviews). 

City of refugees : the story of three newcomers who breathed life into a dying American town City of Refugees: The Story of Three Newcomers Who Breathed Life into a Dying American Town by Susan Hartman — The story of three newcomers – a rebellious Somali Bantu girl, a Bosnian woman who runs a home bakery, and an Iraqi interpreter haunted by war – as they adapt to life in an old manufacturing city: Utica, NY. Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

“Hartman draws an intimate and captivating portrait of the struggle to build new lives while holding on to old values” (Publishers Weekly). 

From here : a memoir From Here: A Memoir by Luma Mufleh — In her coming-of-age memoir, refugee advocate Luma Mufleh writes of her tumultuous journey to reconcile her identity as a gay Muslim woman and a proud Arab-turned-American refugee. Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

“A poignant glimpse into human imperfections and the struggle to find one’s place in the world” (Kirkus Reviews). 

Here to stay Here To Stay by Sara Farizan — When a cyberbully sends the entire high school a picture of basketball hero Bijan Majidi, photo-shopped to look like a terrorist, the school administration promises to find and punish the culprit, but Bijan just wants to pretend the incident never happened and move on. Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

“A diverse cast of well-developed supporting characters, including several who Bijan thinks might be the cyberbully, add a suspenseful mystery to this top-notch high school drama” (Publishers Weekly). 

I was their American dream : a graphic memoir I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir by Malaka Gharib — The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents’ ideals, learning to code-switch between her family’s Filipino and Egyptian customs, while adapting to white culture to fit in.

“This engaging memoir is an uplifting ode to Gharib’s bicultural background, her immigrant parents, and her road to self-acceptance” (School Library Journal).

Man o' war Man o’ War by Cory McCarthy — On a field trip to SeaPlanet, seventeen-year-old Arab-American high school swimmer River McIntyre has a chance encounter with Indy, a happy, healthy queer person, which sets off a wrenching journey of self-discovery. Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

“A thoughtful, nuanced exploration of what it’s like to feel trapped-and how to make it out” (Publishers Weekly). 

Not the girls you're looking for Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi — Lulu Saad, a Muslim-American teen, goes into denial mode about her role in an out-of-control party that occurred during Ramadan, a situation that escalates until she incurs damage that is harder to repair, forcing her to come to terms with her true self.

“Delightful and funny but still giving voice to serious issues of sexual consent and xenophobia” (Kirkus Reviews).

Out of nowhere Out Of Nowhere by Maria Padian — Performing community service for pulling a stupid prank against a rival high school, soccer star Tom tutors a Somali refugee with soccer dreams of his own. Get the eBook

“A sensitive, sympathetic, and insightful portrayal of the plight of new immigrants attempting to acculturate while being forced to deal with casual bigotry” (Booklist). 

Outcasts united : the story of a refugee soccer team that changed a town Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town by Warren St. John — American-educated Jordanian Luma Mufleh founds a youth soccer team comprised of children from Liberia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkan states, and elsewhere in the refugee settlement town of Clarkston, Georgia, bringing the children together to discover their common bonds as they adjust to life in a new homeland.

“Respecting cultural differences, building a global community, and the importance of getting involved are powerful, motivating messages that will resonate with all readers, not just soccer fans” (School Library Journal).

Tasting the sky : a Palestinian childhood Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat — Palestinian-American author Ibtisam Barakat describes her childhood as a Palestinian refugee, discussing her family’s experiences during and after the Six-Day War, and the freedom she felt at learning to read and write.

“A compassionate, insightful family and cultural portrait” (Kirkus Reviews).

Balcony on the moon : coming of age in Palestine Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age In Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat — Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer.

“A pervasive sense of loss informs much of Barakat’s childhood, with a growing realization that no promising future exists for her or her siblings in Palestine. A poetic, deeply felt coming-of-age story” (Kirkus Reviews).

We hunt the flame We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal — Disguising herself as a man to hunt food for her people in the cursed and forbidden forest, a Hunter in a fantasy realm inspired by ancient Arabia is targeted by the Prince of Death, who would kill her for her disobedience to an autocratic king and claim the powerful artifact she seeks. Get the Audiobook

“Layering high-stakes action with moods ranging from casual humor to raw anguish, Faizal bends fantasy tropes to her will to tell a fresh and gripping story about love, honor, and self-discovery” (Booklist). 

For even more great titles by Arab American authors, stop by CA Library and check out the ReadBox book display! Plus, you can browse this collection of eBooks and audiobooks in your Sora account.

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