#IqraChat The Map of Salt and Stars {Resource}

Reading Arab American literature is an important part of my life, as it helps expand my knowledge of my culture and history.

I recently read the book The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn (Jennifer Zeynab) Joukhadar to help me better understand the Syrian refugee experience.

This book moved me in ways that no book has done in a long time.

  • First, the journey involves not one but two young female protagonist, fighting odds well beyond their years.
  • Second, the chapters, for each country entered, include poems by the author that are beautiful and could stand on their own in a chapbook. I found myself reading them over and over again, often out loud.
  • Third, the assault scene was difficult to read, but I don’t believe our society discusses it in the open enough. Reading it brought back painful memories but opened up dialogue that was long overdue with my own teens.

I contacted the author and asked him if I could do a Twitter and Facebook chat online to discuss the book with others. A sort of book club, but not just in my living room or at a local restaurant, but one that anyone that wants to can join in.

Between now and February 26th, read or listen to the book, then join us on ACraftyArab Facebook or ACraftyArab Twitter where you’ll answer the following questions in time sessions (subject to adjustment):

  1. 8PM: What does the title The Map of Salt and Stars mean to you?
  2. 8:10PM: How do the two different timelines influence the plot?
  3. 8:20PM: Did having Nour as the narrator change the way you viewed the events of the novel?
  4. 8:30PM: How do the characters rely on their religion throughout the novel?
  5. 8:40PM: How is The Map of Salt and Stars like or different than other novels you have read about refugees?
  6. 8:50PM: What is the significance of the stone and why was it discarded by Nour?

To help find each other on Twitter and Facebook, we’ll all be using the hashtag #IqraChat and ##MapofSaltandStars. (Iqra is the Arabic word for Read.)

Please be sure to join us on February 26th at 8pm EST to talk about this riveting book.


Arabesque Paneled Fish {Tutorial} plus Arabic Stories {Book Review}

I recently received the book Arabic Stories for Language Learners: Traditional Middle Eastern Tales In Arabic and English, that includes an audio CD, from Tuttle Publishing.

This book is a collection of sixty-six traditional Middle Eastern tales. Each one is written in both in Arabic and English, on parallel pages, so anyone can follow along for easy learning of the language.

Some of the stories have a moral outcome, while others make light of a situation. The tales are full of narratives that include everyday people and also ones specific to Islamic culture.

What I found most helpful was the CD that was included with the book. I discovered myself listening to it mostly in the car, since I did not need the book to follow along.

My daughter was with me while we listened to the story of Fish Is Sold Herd and we both thought it was very funny how the fish seller was trying to post his fish sign. Everyone had their opinion to share with him about how it was done, so he just eventually ended up with no sign at all.

My daughter thought that maybe he needed a sign with no words, so she and I created a fish sign for the seller to use.

Supplies

  • Card stock
  • Double sided tape
  • Xacto
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Beige card stock

My daughter started by drawing a fish silhouette. Since it was to be used as a sign, she tried to use up the entire page for the body.

She set aside her fish and started cutting the arabesque paper into one inch stripes.

After she had a number of pieces cut, she decided on a color scheme.

My daughter then cut the panels of paper to fit the outline of the fish with the Xacto.

Once the panels were cut out, she used the double sided tape to add them to the beige card stock.

This is what our completed fish looked like.

We placed into a frame to enjoy it longer.

Be sure to check out Arabic Stories for Language Learners: Traditional Middle Eastern Tales In Arabic and English to enjoy more Arab stories. Also, check out the Saudi Arabia Creamy Tomato and Chickpea Soup {Recipe} we made from another favorite book from Tuttle Publishing: The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Middle Eastern Cooking

Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more tutorials that were inspired by books we love to read in our home.

ACraftyArab Booth at MENAL Fest 2019 {Outing}

A Crafty Arab was honored to be asked to take part in the MENAL Festival, held at University of Washington, Bothell, located outside Seattle.

The Middle East and North African (MENA) Literature Festival provides a platform that magnifies MENA female voices, allowing them to be heard, and to engage with the public at large.

MENAL Fest featured Tatreez & Tea as the first annual keynote speakers for MENAL fest! This organization teaches about the centuries-old tradition of tatreez (the Arabic word for Palestinian embroidery) and the meanings it carries from generations past and today as a symbol of resilience.

I created a table with the following tutorials to teach about the MENA region.

There were a few other booths from the community as well.

The lecture was standing room only, overflowing so much I gave my booth chairs to others. Afterwards, I had a chance to take a photo with Wafa Ghnaim, the author of Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora and her mother, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow. We are all wearing Palestinian thobes, an Arabic word for long, flowing garment, all hand embroidered with tatreez.

The next day, a workshop was help to learn how to embroidery and I was able to attend as a participant. I choose to work on a Tree of Life design with my favorite colors. I choose the most difficult design as I had cross stitched before, but I still was not able to finish it as I spent most of my time talking to my table mates. Here is the final project, finished at home.

I was so excited to be a part of this event, first to teach others about the Arab world, then to learn myself new things about the Arab world.

If you would like to have an A Crafty Arab educational book at your next event, please contact me. Be sure to check out other ACraftyArab outings on Pinterest.