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Muslim Book Review: These Olive Trees

A Muslim book review on the beautiful book based on the author’s own memories and family experiences of being a Palestinian. Genre: Adv. Picture Book Ages: 5-8 Author and Illustrator: Aya Ghanameh Publisher: Viking/Penguin Kids This gorgeous book shows Oraib, a young Palestinian girl, who lives in a refugee camp. Each year her and her family harvest olives from the trees around them. Olives are so important to her family and Oraib thinks about how there is joy even in the bitter taste- and how useful they are for life in the camp. But after displacement and war comes to the camp, the young girl and her family are forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Oraib plants an olive in the ground as a way to have hope- she promises the land that she will be back to see the tree grow, even if it takes a long time. The book’s illustrations are absolutely stunning and show memories and even sadness in emotionally soft ways that are kid friendly. Reading this book was an emotional process - honestly I read it multiple times to fully feel all the emotions as well as uncover the layers of symbolism. I appreciated the authors note in the back that shows the truth of Palestinian displacement, and also how the text compliments the story by showing how rough it can be to grow up as Palestinian. The olive trees symbolize Palestinians in the book - showing how even though the trees take a long time to grow, and even if they are torn down and displaced, their seeds are in the land, and will grow once again. This symbol of hope- of returning home -is something that is present in each Palestinian’s heart, present in the keys they hold dear, and the memories they hang on to. Definitely an important story and one that brings a fresh perspective and gorgeous art to gently teach children and adults about the reality (the bitter taste but the powerful roots) of being Palestinian.

To purchase this: Click here!

To check out another GORGEOUS book about Palestine, click HERE.

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