West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Arab American Heritage Month

April is Arab American Heritage Month. Enjoy these selections from Arab American authors and books featuring Arab American characters, plus inspiring stories from around the world.

My name on his tongue : poems by Laila Halaby

Old Islam in Detroit : rediscovering the muslim American past by Sally Howell

You exist too much : a novel by Zaina Arafat

Told in vignettes that occur in American and Middle East settings, a debut novel follows the experiences of a young Palestinian-American who is marginalized for her sexual orientation before the traumas of her past drive her toward self-destructive impulses

All-American Muslim girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Sixteen-year-old Allie, aged seven when she knew her family was different and feared, struggles to claim her Muslim and Arabic heritage while finding her place as an American teenager.

Love, hate & other filters by Samira Ahmed

Maya Aziz, seventeen, is caught between her India-born parents world of college and marrying a suitable Muslim boy and her dream world of film school and dating her classmate, Phil, when a terrorist attack changes her life forever.

Above us the Milky Way : an illuminated alphabet by Fowzia Karimi

"A debut novel about a young family forced to flee their war-ravaged homeland, forced to leave behind everything and everyone beloved and familiar. Old family photographs and the author's own lush watercolor paintings inspired by medieval illuminated manuscripts interweave with remembrances, ghost stories, stories of the war dead, and fairy tales to conjure a story of war, of emigration and immigration, the remarkable human capacity to experience love and wonder amidst destruction and loss, and how to create beauty out of horror"--

This is what America looks like : my journey from refugee to Congresswoman by Ilhan Omar

"An intimate and rousing memoir by progressive trailblazer Ilhan Omar-the first African refugee, the first Somali-American, and one of the first Muslim women, elected to Congress. Ilhan Omar was only eight years old when war broke out in Somalia. The youngest of seven children, her mother had died while Ilhan was still a little girl. She was being raised by her father and grandfather when armed gunmen attacked their compound and the family decided to flee Mogadishu. They ended up in a refugee camp in Kenya, where Ilhan says she came to understand the deep meaning of hunger and death. Four years later, after a painstaking vetting process, her family achieved refugee status and arrived in Arlington, Virginia. Aged twelve, penniless, speaking only Somali and having missed out on years of schooling, Ilhan rolled up her sleeves, determined to find her American dream. Faced with the many challenges of being an immigrant and a refugee, she questioned stereotypes and built bridges with her classmates and in her community. In under two decades she became a grassroots organizer, graduated from college and was elected to congress with a record-breaking turnout by the people of Minnesota-ready to keep pushing boundaries and restore moral clarity in Washington D.C. A beacon of positivity in dark times, Congresswoman Omar has weathered many political storms and yet maintained her signature grace, wit and love of country-all the while speaking up for her beliefs. Similarly, in chronicling her remarkable personal journey, Ilhan is both lyrical and unsentimental, and her irrepressible spirit, patriotism, friendship and faith are visible on every page. As a result, This is What America Looks Like is both the inspiring coming of age story of a refugee and a multidimensional tale of the hopes and aspirations, disappointments and failures, successes, sacrifices and surprises, of a devoted public servant with unshakable faith in the promise of America"--

Proud : my fight for an unlikely American dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People. The first female Muslim American to medal at the Olympic Games. The first woman in hijab to compete for the United States in the Olympics. Growing up in New Jersey as the only African American Muslim in hijab in town, at school, and on the playing fields, Ibtihaj Muhammad always had to find her own way. When she discovered fencing, a sport traditionally reserved for the wealthy and white, once again she had to defy expectations and make a place for herself in a sport she grew to love. Even though Ibtihaj would start fencing later than most, at 13 years old her talent was undeniable. From winning state championships with her high school team to three-time All-America selections at Duke University, Ibtihaj was poised for success, but the fencing community wasn't ready to welcome her with open arms. Ibtihaj Muhammad's path to Olympic greatness has been marked with opposition and near-debilitating challenges because of her race, religion, and gender. As the only woman of color and the only religious minority on the U.S. women's saber team, again Ibtihaj had to push past stereotypes, misconceptions, and negativity to find her own path to success and Olympic glory. Proud is the inspiring story of how Ibtihaj rose above it all with grace and compassion. She provides an unflinching and honest portrayal of how she managed to stay true to herself and still play by the rules. A coming-of-age story, a hero's journey, and a moving memoir from one of the nation's most influential athletes

After the last border : two families and the story of refuge in America by Jessica Goudeau

"The story of two refugee families and their hope and resilience as they fight to survive and belong in America The welcoming and acceptance of immigrants and refugees has been central to America's identity for centuries--yet America has periodically turned its back at the times of greatest humanitarian need. After the Last Border is an intimate look at the lives of two women as they struggle for the twenty-first century American dream, having won the "golden ticket" to settle as refugees in Austin, Texas. Mu Naw, a Christian from Myanmar struggling to put down roots with her family, was accepted after decades in a refugee camp at a time when America was at its most open to displaced families; and Hasna, a Muslim from Syria, agrees to relocate as a last resort for the safety of her family--only to be cruelly separated from her children by a sudden ban on refugees from Muslim countries. Writer and activist Jessica Goudeau tracks the human impacts of America's ever-shifting refugee policy as both women narrowly escape from their home countries and begin the arduous but lifesaving process of resettling in Austin, Texas--a city that would show them the best and worst of what America has to offer. After the Last Border situates a dramatic, character-driven story within a larger history--the evolution of modern refugee resettlement in the United States, beginning with World War II and ending with current closed-door policies--revealing not just how America's changing attitudes toward refugees has influenced policies and laws, but also the profound effect on human lives"--

A pure heart : a novel by Rajia Hassib

"A powerful novel about two Egyptian sisters--their divergent fates and the secrets of one family Sisters Rose and Gameela Gubran could not have been more different. Rose, an Egyptologist, married an American journalist and immigrated to New York City, where she works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gameela, a devout Muslim since her teenage years, stayed in Cairo. During the aftermath of Egypt's revolution, Gameela is killed in a suicide bombing. When Rose returns to Egypt after the bombing, she siftsthrough the artifacts Gameela left behind, desperate to understand how her sister came to die, and who she truly was. Soon, Rose realizes that Gameela has left many questions unanswered. Why had she quit her job just a few months before her death and nottold her family? Who was she romantically involved with? And how did the religious Gameela manage to keep so many secrets? Rich in depth and feeling, A Pure Heart is a brilliant portrait of two Muslim women in the twenty-first century, and the decisionsthey make in work and love that determine their destinies. As Rose is struggling to reconcile her identities as an Egyptian and as a new American, she investigates Gameela's devotion to her religion and her country. The more Rose uncovers about her sister's life, the more she must reconcile their two fates, their inextricable bond as sisters, and who should and should not be held responsible for Gameela's death. Rajia Hassib's A Pure Heart is a stirring and deeply textured novel that asks what it means toforgive, and considers how faith, family, and love can unite and divide us"--

Not the girls you're looking for by Aminah Mae Safi

A Muslim-American teen goes into denial mode about her role in an out-of-control party that occured 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

The complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Collects a two-part graphic memoir, in which the great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran, a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life

The beauty of your face : a novel by Sahar Mustafah

"A Palestinian American woman wrestles with faith, loss, and identity before coming face- to- face with a school shooter in this searing debut. A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter- radicalized by the online alt- right- attacks the school. As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories: the bigotry she faced as a child, her mother's dreams of returning to Palestine, and the devastating disappearance of her older sister that tore her family apart. Still, there is the sweetness of the music from her father's oud, and the hope and community Afaf finally finds in Islam. The Beauty of Your Face is a profound and poignant exploration of one woman's life in a nation at odds with its ideals"--

The wrong end of the table : a mostly comic memoir of a Muslim Arab American woman just trying to fit in by Ayser Salman

No turning back : life, loss, and hope in wartime Syria by Rania Abouzeid

This astonishing book by the prize-winning journalist Rania Abouzeid tells the tragedy of the Syrian War through the dramatic stories of four young people seeking safety and freedom in a shattered country. Extending back to the first demonstrations of 2011, No Turning Back dissects the tangle of ideologies and allegiances that make up the Syrian conflict. As protests ignited in Daraa, some citizens were brimming with a sense of possibility. A privileged young man named Suleiman posted videos of the protests online, full of hope for justice and democracy. A father of two named Mohammad, secretly radicalized and newly released from prison, saw a darker opportunity in the unrest. When violence broke out in Homs, a poet named Abu Azzam became an unlikely commander in a Free Syrian Army militia. The regime's brutal response disrupted a family in Idlib province, where a nine-year-old girl opened the door to a military raid that caused her father to flee. As the bombings increased and roads grew more dangerous, these people's lives intertwined in unexpected ways. Rania Abouzeid brings readers deep inside Assad's prisons, to covert meetings where foreign states and organizations manipulated the rebels, and to the highest levels of Islamic militancy and the formation of ISIS. Based on more than five years of clandestine reporting on the front lines, No Turning Back is an utterly engrossing human drama full of vivid, indelible characters that shows how hope can flourish even amid one of the twenty-first century's greatest humanitarian disasters

Death is hard work by Khālid Khalīfa

Abdel Latif, an old man from the Aleppo region, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. His final wish, conveyed to his youngest son, Bolbol, is to be buried in the family plot in their ancestral village of Anabiya. Though Abdel was hardly an ideal father, and though Bolbol is estranged from his siblings, this conscientious son persuades his older brother Hussein and his sister Fatima to accompany him and the body to Anabiya, which is--after all--only a two-hour drive from Damascus. There's only one problem: Their country is a war zone. With the landscape of their childhood now a labyrinth of competing armies whose actions are at once arbitrary and lethal, the siblings' decision to set aside their differences and honor their father's request quickly balloons from a minor commitment into an epic and life-threatening quest. Syria, however, is no longer a place for heroes, and the decisions the family must make along the way--as they find themselves captured and recaptured, interrogated, imprisoned, and bombed--will prove to have enormous consequences for all of them

The thirty names of night : a novel by Zeyn Joukhadar

"From the author of the acclaimed and award-winning debut The Map of Salt and Stars, a remarkably moving and lyrical novel following three generations of Syrian Americans who are linked by the truths they carry close to their hearts. Five years after a suspicious fire killed his mother, a closeted Syrian American trans boy sheds his birth name and searches for a new one. He has been unable to paint since his mother's ghost has begun to visit him each evening. The only time he feels truly free is when he slips out at night to paint murals on buildings in the once-thriving Manhattan neighborhood known as Little Syria. One night, he finds the tattered journal of a Syrian American artist named Laila Z. She famously and mysteriously disappeared more than sixtyyears before, but her journal contains proof that Laila Z's past is intimately tied to his mother's-and his grandmother's--in ways he never could have expected. Even more surprising, Laila Z's story reveals the histories of queer and transgender people within his community that he never knew. Following his mother's ghost, he uncovers the silences kept in the name of survival by his own community, his own family, and within himself, and discovers the family that was there all along. The Thirty Names of Night is an imaginative and intimate exploration of how we all search for and ultimately embrace who we are"--

American dervish : a novel by Ayad Akhtar

A young Pakistani boy, whose parents left the fundamentalists behind when they came to America, finds transformation and a path to happiness through a family friend, Mina, who shows him the beauty and power of the Quran

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Three superheroes in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms bound together by a series of magical murders must work together in a race against time to prevent a sorcerer's plot from destroying the world

The other Americans by Laila Lalami

The suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant impacts the lives of a diverse cast of characters including his jazz-composer daughter, an undocumented witness and an Iraqi War veteran. By the award-winning author of The Moor's Account

The Moor's account : a novel by Laila Lalami

Inspired by a true story, tells how Moroccan slave Estebanico barely survives his expedition to become the New World's first explorer of African descent, dealing with storms, disease, and hostile natives

We are not here to be bystanders : a memoir of love and resistance by Linda Sarsour

"Women's March co-organizer Linda Sarsour shares how growing up Palestinian Muslim American, feminist, and empowered moved her to become a globally recognized and celebrated activist on behalf of marginalized communities across the country"--

Love is an ex-country by Randa Jarrar

An unnecessary woman : a novel by Rabih Alameddine

"Aaliya Sohbi lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family's 'unnecessary appendage.' Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read-- by anyone. After overhearing her neighbors, 'the three witches,' discussing her too-white hair, Aaliya accidentally dyes her hair too blue. In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman's late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya's digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya's own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left" --

A woman is no man : a novel by Etaf Rum

Three generations of Palestinian-American women in contemporary Brooklyn are torn by individual desire, educational ambitions, a devastating tragedy, and the strict mores of traditional Arab culture

Salt houses by Hala Alyan

On the eve of her daughter Alia's wedding, Salma reads the girl's future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel, and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is up rooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967. Salma is forced toleave her home in Nablus; Alia's brother gets pulled into a politically militarized world he can't escape; and Alia and her gentle-spirited husband move to Kuwait City, where they reluctantly build a life with their three children. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in1990, Alia and her family once again lose their home, their land, and their story as they know it, scattering to Beirut, Paris, Boston, and beyond. Soon Alia's children begin families of their own, once again navigating the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities

A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini

Two women born a generation apart witness the destruction of their home and family in wartorn Kabul, incurring losses over the course of thirty years that test the limits of their strength and courage

The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini

Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant, is a Hazara--a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. When Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave the memory of Hassan behind him

Exit west : a novel by Mohsin Hamid

"From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, a love story that unfolds in a world being irrevocably transformed by migration. In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, twoyoung people meet--sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors--doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West is an epic compressed into a slender page-turner--both completely of our time and for all time, Mohsin Hamid's most ambitious and electrifying novel yet"--

The stationery shop by Marjan Kamali

"A novel set in 1953 Tehran, against the backdrop of the Iranian Coup, about a young couple in love who are separated on the eve of their marriage, and who are reunited sixty years later, after having moved on to live independent lives in America, to discover the truth about what happened on that fateful day in the town square"--

Home fire : a novel by Kamila Shamsie

"From an internationally acclaimed novelist, the suspenseful and heartbreaking story of a family ripped apart by secrets and driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences. Isma is free. After years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mother's death, an invitation from a mentor in America has allowed her to resume a dream long deferred. But she can't stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, who's disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When he resurfaces half the globe away, Isma's worst fears are confirmed. Then Eamonn enters the sisters' lives. Son of a powerful politicalfigure, he has his own birthright to live up to--or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz's salvation? Suddenly, two families' fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined, in this searing novel that asks: What sacrifices will we make in the name of love?"--

The golden legend : a novel by Nadeem Aslam

Set in contemporary Pakistan, the story of a Muslim widow and her Christian neighbors whose community is consumed by violent religious intolerance. When shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road, Nargis's life begins to crumble around her. Her husband, Massud--a fellow architect--is caught in the cross fire and dies before she can confess her greatest secret to him. Now under threat from a powerful military intelligence officer, who demands that she pardon her husband's American killer, Nargis fears that the truth about her past will soon be exposed. For weeks someone has been broadcasting people's secrets from the minaret of the local mosque, and, in a country where even the accusation of blasphemy is a currency to be bartered, the mysterious broadcasts have struck fear in Christians and Muslims alike. When the loudspeakers reveal a forbidden romance between a Muslim cleric's daughter and Nargis's Christian neighbor, Nargis finds herself trapped in the center of the chaos tearing their community apart

The last girl : my story of captivity, and my fight against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad

Take it back by Kia Abdullah

One victim. Four accused. Who is telling the truth? Zara Kaleel, one of London's brightest legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a brilliant legal career. But her decisions came at a high cost, and now, battling her own demons, she has exchanged her high profile career for a job at a sexual assault center, helping victims who need her the most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe. When Jodie, a sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, accuses four boys in her class of an unthinkable crime, the community is torn apart. After all, these four teenage defendants are from hard-working immigrant families and they all have proven alibis. Even Jodie's best friend doesn't believe her. But Zara does-and she is determined to fight for Jodie-to find the truth in the face of public outcry. And as issues of sex, race and social justice collide, the most explosive criminal trial of the year builds to a shocking conclusion

Bright lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam

North of dawn : a novel by Nuruddin Farah

Bird summons by Leila Aboulela

"When Salma, Moni, and Iman-friends and active members of their local Muslim Women's group-decide to take a road trip together to the Scottish Highlands, they leave behind lives often dominated by obligation, frustrated desire, and dull predictability. Each wants something more out of life, but fears the cost of taking it. Salma is successful and happily married, but tempted to risk it all when she's contacted by her first love back in Egypt; Moni gave up a career in banking to care for her disabled son without the help of her indifferent husband; and Iman, in her twenties and already on her third marriage, longs for the freedom and autonomy she's never known. When the women are visited by the Hoopoe, a sacred bird from Muslim and Celtic literature, they are compelled to question their relationships to faith and femininity, love, loyalty, and sacrifice"--

How to cure a ghost by Fariha Róisín

A poetry compilation recounting a woman's journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance, confusion to clarity, and bitterness to forgiveness. Following in the footsteps of such category killers as Milk and Honey and Whiskey Words & a Shovel I, Fariha Róisín's poetry book is a collection of her thoughts as a young, queer, Muslim femme navigating the difficulties of her intersectionality. Simultaneously, this compilation unpacks the contentious relationship that exists between Róisín and her mother, her platonic and romantic heartbreaks, and the cognitive dissonance felt as a result of being so divided among her broad spectrum of identities. Fariha Róisín is an Australian-Canadian writer based in Brooklyn. Her writing often explores Muslim identity, race, pop culture, and film. It also examines the intersection of queerness and being a femme of color while navigating a white world
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National Medal Recipient of the National Medal, the nation's highest honor for libraries.