Title: Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood
Author: Ibtisam Barakat
Publisher: Meanie Kroupa Books, 2007
Do you remember learning the alphabet? Ibtisam Barakat does, and recalling this moment in Tasting the Sky, regards her imaginary friend Alef who is made of chalk. Alef is the first letter of both the Hebrew and Arabic alphabets. She loves Alef so that she claims him to be her saving grace in a time of war. Alef served her well throughout her childhood, in the aftermath of the 1967 war between Palestine and Israel. Barakat uses this similarity fittingly throughout her memoir as one of the many links between two peoples who may at times seem very different.
A writer of great eloquence, Barakat takes the modern western reader away from their own world and into that of a Palestinian child’s. From the joy of sesame candy to the fear of bombs exploding overhead, Tasting the Sky was not a book which I read with dry eyes. Barakat was able to find a wonderful balance of childhood antics and a real world look at the conflict which is too often seen as hopeless. Also included in the back of the book is a reading list for young people interested in learning more about the Arab-Israeli conflict, a few of which I picked up from my local library today. A poignant look at an issue which still plagues children and families in the Middle East, I recommend Tasting the Sky to readers 12 and up.
Posted By: Janine Reads