This book is the start of a series that will be about a Palestinian girl named Farah Hajjar, who will be starting a different school the following year as she enters sixth grade. She hopes to enter a new academy with her best friend, but she starts to think twice about leaving her special needs younger brother behind on his own, in their old school. A bully situation has come up and without giving too much away, Farah, who had only one goal: to get into the academy, starts to have bad grades. On purpose!
What I loved most about this book is that Farah and her family are Christian, and she discusses her family commissioning a stained glass window in their church in Chapter 1. It is such a big misconception that all Arabs are Muslim, when more Arab Americans celebrate Christmas than celebrate Eid. I am happy to finally see that the publishing industry is shining some lights on books from the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region that are not Muslim focused.
My daughter wanted to share the book with some friends, who always had questions about her faith. She wanted to show them that there were different types of Arabs, just like there were different types of Americans. I suggested we share the link with their mothers so that they could buy it also and we could host a book club at our home. She loved the idea and made sure to invite friends from all three major faiths, Christians, Jewish, and Islam, to join us.
To celebrate the unity of religions in Palestine, we decided to make straw toppers for our book club drinks. We hoped they would be a great start to our conversation.
To make them, we went back to a map of Palestine from 1917, before it was divided up by the British. Diversity was celebrated and there were a number of factories that made keffiyeahs, the traditional head scarf worn in the MENA region. Now, outside of China, there is only one factory making this headscarf in Palestine.
Traditionally thought of as only black & white, keffiyeahs actually come in many colors.
To get started on our paper toppers, we printed ours at about 3 inches.
We colored in the Palestine country outline first. This way, we do not have to worry about staying in the lines, as we’ll be cutting it out anyway.
After cutting out the country outlines, the final step is to tape the back of the colored map to the straw.
We made a few of them in different colors, just like the ones above.
This also will help keep everyone’s drinks apart.
Now our paper toppers are ready for our Farah Rocks Fifth Grade book club.
If you enjoyed this craft tutorial, please visit these others that educate about Palestine