Libraries are at the heart of the community and they have the potential to bring people together while also offering individuals life-changing opportunities. One important way that libraries can encourage immigrant and refugee families to visit is to stock a range of picture books for younger readers in bilingual and monolingual editions in a … Continue reading THE JASMINE SNEEZE

A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution

  Reading A Woman in the Crossfire in the Fall of 2012 was not easy; the pain and suffering, both personal and collective, recorded by Samar Yazbek during the first one hundred days of Syria’s uprising against the regime continues unabated, and shamelessly without any effective international effort to relieve the suffering of civilians coming … Continue reading A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution

Damascus Nights

  Storytelling is among the oldest forms of communication. Storytelling is the commonality of all human beings, in all places, in all times. – Rives Collins, American author and Northwestern University professor. Thus through the ages from Homer to Chaucer to Scheherazade to Shakespeare to Dickens, and to all the modern day tale tellers, and … Continue reading Damascus Nights

Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline

Syria Speaks is a collection of “art and culture from the frontline” of the Syrian revolution published simultaneously in English and Arabic at a time when the revolution had been underway for three years and been transformed into an armed conflict in which millions of Syrians had been displaced both internally and externally, and in … Continue reading Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline

Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace

It’s hard for the average Western middle-class child, ensconced in relative safety, to imagine what it must be like to live in a country that is experiencing a revolution. ‘Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace’ by Bana Alabed, is a short, compelling book written by a mother and daughter … Continue reading Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace

The Silence and the Roar

  I was back visiting one of my favorite countries, Lebanon, when I purchased The Silence and the Roar in a chic mall in Beirut in 2013.  My friend was downstairs purchasing a pair of Valentino boots and I was browsing the newly translated offerings in English from Arabic when I came across Nihad Sirees’ … Continue reading The Silence and the Roar

“Lament for Syria”

  Lament for Syria by Amineh Abou Kerech Syrian doves croon above my head their call cries in my eyes. I’m trying to design a country that will go with my poetry and not get in the way when I’m thinking, where soldiers don’t walk over my face. I’m trying to design a country which … Continue reading “Lament for Syria”

Breaking Knees

  'Breaking Knees': Sixty-three Very Short Stories from Syria is not about refugees or civil war. Nor do the stories involve terrorists. Conversely, Zakaria Tamer’s very short tales take place behind the front door, in living rooms and over coffee, between neighbors, and, most importantly, between the sheets. Relationships between women and men lay at … Continue reading Breaking Knees

The Arab of the Future

  Riad Sattouf's The Arab of the Future, a widely acclaimed graphic novel published first in French and then in translation in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and several other languages, is a work of extraordinary candour. Sattouf, who has a Syrian father and a French mother, shows minimal restraint when he portrays in pictures and … Continue reading The Arab of the Future

Folktales from Syria

  For such a small collection of stories, Folktales from Syria packs an interesting punch for an English reader. Beginning with an introduction by Andrea Rugh, this collection works to inform and educate the reader as much as it does to entertain. In the Preface, Rugh takes the reader through her meeting with Samir Tahhan, … Continue reading Folktales from Syria