by Golbarg Bashi, illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi
Reading a good picture book with a child can be a joyful experience. But picture books that privilege indoctrination over imagination aren’t really literature. They betray the bond of trust between adult and child.
They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom
by Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri
Ahed Tamimi is not a model of nonviolent resistance — what she describes as an unarmed “grassroots resistance movement” was actually quite violent — but young readers with no background knowledge about the Middle East will be easily misled by her deceptive autobiography.
Children’s books aiming at even-handedness on the Arab-Israeli conflict usually fail – as novels, because they’re didactic, and as political tracts, because they’re inaccurate. This book is a case in point.
The books we read as children stay with us all our lives. In our earliest stories, big, bad wolves threaten innocent children – and few of us grow up with warm, fuzzy feelings about wolves. Replace that wolf with an Israeli soldier, and you have an indelible image. That is the danger of the writings of Palestinian-American children’s poet and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye.