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):
- 8PM: What does the title The Map of Salt and Stars mean to you?
- 8:10PM: How do the two different timelines influence the plot?
- 8:20PM: Did having Nour as the narrator change the way you viewed the events of the novel?
- 8:30PM: How do the characters rely on their religion throughout the novel?
- 8:40PM: How is The Map of Salt and Stars like or different than other novels you have read about refugees?
- 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.