Melody Sullivan, an angry 16-year-old haunted by her mother’s death and a sexual assault, defies her father and embarks on a search for friends in a most difficult place where she is forced to face her pain and the power of love and forgiveness.
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Being the new kid is always hard, but try starting the year with a name like Mohammed Omar Mohammed Abu Srour, with a homemade lunch of humus and za’atar. On top of that, on the very first day of school, a kid tells his older hijab-wearing sister to “go back where you came from.” Mohammed and his sister love their grandmother, but she thinks her stories about life in Palestine will help them with their problems. What does Grandmother’s ancient history have to do with classroom bullies? She never learned to read and Mohammed can’t even find Palestine on a map. Feels like fourth grade’s going to last forever.
This book brings alive Aleppo’s ancient city in a story set just before the troubles began in 2011. It tells of Tamim, a boy who visits Aleppo’s historic neighborhoods. Of greater interest to adults, the author also provides historical sketches of the city and color illustrations and photographs, both historical and contemporary.