Book Recommendations for Arab American Heritage Month 2024


April is Arab American Heritage Month, and with the rise of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim attacks in the US, we feel it’s especially important to continue to highlight books by Arab American authors and illustrators. 

Our book list also includes books by SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) authors, so you will find some books by authors with heritage from places like Iran and Afghanistan.  In keeping with OLC’s  values of anti-racism, sharing accurate stories and history, and of books being Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass doors, our list specifically includes books by Palestinian authors with Palestinian characters. At a time when books and curriculum that teach about Palestine are being challenged and censored, is is essential to showcase the history, realities and joys of marginalized communities. It’s important not to allow Palestinian history and culture to be erased from the curriculum as families and communities are being decimated.

  • For preschool students, The Book That Almost Rhymed by Palestinian American Omar Abed encourages collaboration through rhymes, showing that one part can greatly benefit from the other! This colorful picture book reaffirms the power of storytelling through communities and interpersonal relationships. 
  • For early elementary students, Rabia’s Eid is a new Step 2 reader by Rukhsana Khan. This story follows Rabia as she fasts with her family for the first time to celebrate Ramadan. 
  • Wishing Upon the Same Stars by Jacquetta Nammar Feldman navigates the complexities of both moving to a new town and how to integrate oneself in a new social scene. Yasmeen Khoury, a Palestinian Lebanese girl from Michigan, clicks with her Israeli-American neighbor Ayelet Cohen in her new home in Texas. The two bond over their feelings of isolation in school. However, Yasmin wrestles with her new friendship and the realities of displacement and harm that threaten her family’s heritage. 
  • For middle grade students, Daughters of the Lamp by Nedda Lewers is a mystical treasure that blends Arabian legends with the typical experiences of a teenage girl. Sahara Rashad used to always rely on reason up until mysterious and whimsical forces seem to guide her through various challenges.  
  • A graphic novel for grades 6 and above, Huda F Cares by Huda Fahmy is the second humorous graphic novel about Huda, a Muslim hijabi high schooler, who is discovering her identity in a community of Arab Americans in Dearborn, Michigan. This book focuses on a summer family trip to Disneyworld, managing sibling relationships, and standing out as different in a new place.
  • For high school students, Something More by Jackie Khalilieh follows a Palestinian-Candian student navigating the start of high school coinciding with her autism diagnosis. Jessie makes her way through her high school goals while traversing the complexities of romance. This novel represents both Palestinian identities as well as adults who commonly receive diagnoses at adulthood.
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