A national network of resources and information about the Middle East

MEOC Announces 2011 Middle East Book Award Recipients

The Middle East Outreach Council (MEOC) announced its 2011 Middle East book awards recipients at the Middle East Studies Association conference held in Washington DC in December 2011.  Established in 1999, the Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures. Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of a Middle Eastern subject, as well as on their characterization, plot, and appeal for the intended audience. For the purposes of this award, “The Middle East” is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Afghanistan. Past recipients of awards can be viewed at the MEOC website:  www.meoc.us. Nominations for the Middle East Book Award are made by publishers, educators, librarians and the general public.  If you would like to nominate a book, please contact bpetzen@mepc.org.





by Jeannie Baker (Candlewick Press)

Mirror, by Jeannie Baker

Without words but through creative binding and exquisitely detailed collages, Mirror provides parallel accounts of the lives of two families: one Moroccan and one Australian. Despite their differences, both families have similar routines and needs, therefore, the metaphor of a mirror. Reviewers were highly impressed with the book’s message, layout, and subtle teachings as well as the opportunities it presents for comparison, cultural analysis, and countering stereotypes.







Time to Pray

by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon (Boyds Mills Press)

Time to Pray, by Maha Addasi

Time to Pray provides a clear explanation of Muslim prayers as well as aspects of Islamic practice. The story revolves around a loving relationship between a girl and her grandmother and is enhanced by beautiful illustrations, including calligraphy. Reviewers commented that the book will help readers learn about Islam in the daily rhythm of life, has a strong educational value, and is a good story with females as the main characters.









The Secret Message

by Mina Javaherbin, illustrated by Bruce Whatley (Disney/Hyperion Books)

The Secret Message, by Mina Javaherbin

Based on a true story by Rumi, The Secret Message describes an encaged parrot who finds a way to freedom and enlightens his keeper. The book will appeal to younger readers through its gorgeous presentation and a tale that could lead to discussion of the Silk Road and comparison with other folktales. Reviewers commented that the story makes the Silk Road personal; raises questions about captivity, loyalty, and fairness; and makes Rumi relevant for 21st century youth.









Where the Streets Had a Name

by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Scholastic Press)

Where the Streets Had a Name, by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Where the Streets Had a Name offers an intriguing story set in today’s Palestine, where political realities affect daily life. The narrative is real, sensitive, and often very funny. The young main characters (both Muslim and Christian) are well-developed and easy to relate to, and their adventures on the way to Jerusalem will appeal to young readers. One teacher reviewer commented, “I appreciated the fact that the author’s telling showed multiple perspectives on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but did so without sounding preachy from any one perspective.”










How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less

by Sarah Glidden (Vertigo)

How to Understand Israel, by Sarah Glidden

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less is a graphic “novel”/true account. The author, a Jewish-American, describes her heritage trip to Israel and her attempts to come to grips with the complex social and political situation in that country. High school readers will appreciate the colorful illustrations and the travel story; more discerning readers will also respect the thoughtful, balanced look at modern Israel.








The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World

by Bryn Barnard (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)

The Genius of Islam, by Bryn Barnard

The Genius of Islam is an excellent introduction to the inventions and innovations of the medieval Muslim world. Rather than attempting a general overview of the subject, author Bryn Barnard highlights a few representative topics – for example, optical science, the development of paper, and calligraphy. Reviewers noted that late elementary, middle school, and even older readers will love the book’s wonderful illustrations and organization into short, manageable topics.


Categories: Book Awards

3 Responses

  1. [...] Awards | Sarah Glidden’s How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less won a 2011 MEOC Middle East book award, presented last month at the Middle East Studies Association conference in Washington, D.C. [Middle East Outreach Council] [...]

  2. [...] by Cartoon Movement, Graphic Journos and the accumulating accolades — most recently from the MEOC Book Awards — to GJ’s Sarah Glidden. This entry was posted in BitterGirl. Bookmark the permalink. [...]