Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World

Synopsis

What is it like to be a young person in the Arab world today? This lively collection of eight short stories about Arab teenagers living in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and a Palestinian refugee camp engagingly depicts young people's experiences growing up in the Middle East. The characters, drawn from urban and rural settings and from different classes as well as a mix of countries, confront situations involving friends, family, teachers, and society at large. Along with some specifically Middle Eastern issues, such as strife in Iraq, the hardships of life in a Palestinian refugee camp, and honor crimes, the young people deal with more familiar concerns such as loyalty to friends, overcoming personal insecurities, dreams of a future career, and coping with divorcing parents. Coming of age in a complicated world, they meet life with courage, determination, and, not least of all, humor. With accompanying notes that provide contextual information, Santa Claus in Baghdad brings a fresh perspective to youth literature about the Arab world.

Excerpt

What is it like, growing up in the Arab world today? Is life there as dangerous and difficult as it looks in our newspapers and on television? For some teenagers, in places of unusual tension and conflict, yes. But the lives of others will seem quite familiar to you, in many ways. What young people want is what young people everywhere want: a secure home and loving family, good friends, teachers who care about their students, the chance to grow and to express themselves, hope for a better future. Some other aspects of their existence—the land itself, history, the way people are ruled, beliefs and social customs—may strike you as surprising, certainly “different.” Above all, young people in the Arab world share with young Americans the challenge of growing up in a complicated, confusing world, trying to meet life with courage, faith, and not least of all, humor. Let the teenagers in these stories tell you something about their lives.

Elsa marston February 15, 2008 . . .

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