“Maybe the hardest thing about moving overseas was being in a place where no one but your own family had any memory of you. It was like putting yourself back together with little pieces.”

It would be very difficult for any 14 year old to be uprooted by her family and moved overseas, but for Liyana Abboud, a very American teenager whose father is Palestinian, moving to Jerusalem from St Louis completely changed her world.

From the Publisher:

What does Jerusalem hold for Liyana? A grandmother, a Sitti, she has never met, for one. A history much bigger than she is. Visits to the West Bank village where her aunts and uncles live. Mischief. Old stone streets that wind through time and trouble. Opening doors, dark jail cells, a new feeling for peace, and Omer…the intriguing stranger whose kisses replace the one she lost when she moved across the ocean.

This is a lovely story of what it means to suddenly be immersed in another culture just at a time when you are beginning to define who you are and what you believe in.  It’s a powerful story of self-discovery, of family, and of what it means to be part of the bigger picture of history.

I have long enjoyed and appreciated Naomi Shihab Nye’s beautiful poetry. She has put a lot of that beautiful language into this little book, and told a story that is very close to her heart.  I love the way Liyana’s extended family reaches out to her and helps her through her culture shock and helps her understand her own heritage.  I particularly love the relationship she has with her Sitti (her grandmother).

Habibi, by Naomi Shihab Nye, is a quick but thoughtful read. I highly recommend this little book.

3 thoughts on “Habibi

  1. Study Window

    This reminds me of Geraldine Kaye’s ‘Comfort Herself’ about a slightly younger child who is claimed by her Ghanian father after her English mother has died. Do you know it? I’ll have to see if ‘Habibi’ is available here in the UK.


  2. Robin Post author

    Hi Study Window. I haven’t heard about “Comfort Herself,” but it sounds like something I would like to read, so I’ll search for it. Thanks for visiting and thanks for the book recommend!

    Chris, it’s a good read, and I think you’d enjoy it! I’m enjoying reading about your gardening experiences this summer!



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