Naomi Shihab Nye’s Habibi is one of those amazing books that I feel everyone should read, no matter what types of books they normally read (Simon Pulse, $6.99). Liyana was born and raised in the United State, where her mother is from, but her parents have always said that at some point the family would move to Palestine, where her father is from. So when she’s 14 and life is just starting to get interesting, Liyana is bummed, but not surprised, to hear that her family is leaving the US. Liyana’s story of growing up, of discovering a new culture, and of feeling caught between her old life and new, caught between the conflicts raging around her in Jerusalem is told with amazing delicacy and thoughtfulness. Embraced by her family, Liyana loves them all as well as their cultural heritage, especially her grandmother, Sitti. Nevertheless, she also knows that their experiences are not her experiences and that their world-views are not her world-views. Therefore when she meets Omar, and he represents everything that threatens her family, she must find the humanity within the conflicts and demonstrate that each individual is bigger than history.
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