Children Books About Palestine {Resource}

Today is a big day in the United States government as a Palestinian woman & Somalian woman are sworn into office.

All over social media, people are celebrating this historical achievement from Rashida Tlaib (Democrat – Michigan) & Ilhan Omar (Democrate – Minnesota).

They are using the hashtag #TweetYourThobe and posting photos of themselves & family members in hijab or a thobe, the Arabic word for garment. also known as a long tunic:


These articles of clothing are worn all over the Arab world, by men and women. They are traditionally ankle-length, and usually have long sleeves.

Rashida Tlaib wore a Palestinian thobe to the swearing in ceremony, while Illhan Omar wore a hijab, a type of head cover, both firsts in the House of Representatives.

Due to my job as an Arab cultural educator, I own a lot of Arab traditional attire for my appearances, including 4 thobes from Palestine. Be sure to follow A Crafty Arab on Twitter to see the photos of them.

I also see a number of them in the stories I read to children during my storytelling sessions at the public library.

Fresh off my book list two days ago of upcoming 2019 Arab & Muslim books, I thought I’d keep the book lists going with this compilation of books where children can find Palestinian thobes.

I’ll be putting one up about women in hijab soon.


Abdel-Fattah, Randa. Where the Streets Had A Name.

Abu Al-Hayyat, Maya. Blue Pool of Questions

Alareer, Refaat. Gaza Writes Back.

Alyan, Hala. Salt Houses.

Barakat, Ibtisam. Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine.

Barakat, Ibtisam. Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood.

Bashi, Golbarg. P is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book.

Ellis, Deborah. Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak.

Laird, Elizabeth. A Little Piece of Ground.

MacDonald,  Margaret Read. Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!: A Palestinian Tale.

Marshood, Nabil. Palestinian: Teenage Refugees and Immigrants Speak Out.

Nye, Naomi Shihab. Habibi.

Nye, Naomi Shihab. Sitti and the Cats: A Tale of Friendship.

Nye, Naomi Shihab. Sitti’s Secrets.

Nye, Naomi Shihab. The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East.

Robinson, Anthony & Annemarie Young. Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation.

Shelo, Jameeleh. Laith the Lion Goes to Palestine.

Taghreed Najjar. Who Hid the Eid Lamb?

An added bonus: We reviewed Who Hid The Eid Lamb & made a bookmark, stop by to see the tutorial


Be sure to visit the Education page to see more books that teach about the Arab world & Muslim culture.

99 Arab Children Books

99 Muslim Children Books

Christmas in the Arab World {Resource}

The Christmas spirit is alive in the Arab world, and we have made a number of Arabic craft tutorials to teach about it. Christmas is even an official national holiday in a few of the 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Contrary to what is being shown in the media, there are multiple locations in the Middle East where nativity scenes are even seen in public places. There are also many visual Santa Claus imagery, who is known as his more universal name Papa or Baba Noël.

While it is common to think of the Arab world as only being Islamic, there are many Christians that live in the area. This is John of Damascus an Arab monk and presbyter from the 7th-century.

In Morocco, if you walk into a regular big city bakery, you may find buche de Nôel, a French Christmas cake. Rabat, due to it’s large population of foreign workers there, is often seen decorated with glitter, lights, Santas and other Christmas decor this time of year.

In Mauritania, Tunisia, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan, Christmas is not as common, however, a Christmas market recently opened in the capital of Algeria.

Egypt makes a big deal about Christmas since 10% of it’s population is Christian. People conduct a Nativity Fast for 43 days before Christmas, which occurs on January 6th within the Armenian community and January 7th for the Orthodox Copts. Families gather for celebrations at home and in midnight mass at church. Kahk el Eid is a common treat to share with loved ones.

Many would be surprised to learn that in Comoros, which typically celebrates Islamic celebrations that follow the lunar calendar, Christmas Day is observed by the Roman Catholic minority, with festive gatherings of friends and families.

Christmas in the Arabian Peninsula, consisting of the countries Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is possible to find, if you know where to look. It’s true that in more conservative Islamic countries, it is not as visual, however, Christmas time in the UAE makes it’s residents feel like they are in a Christian country. While in Bahrain, many hotels offer Christmas brunch.

The Iraqi Cabinet added Christmas as a national holiday in 2018. However, the Syriac community has been in the Iraq since the Middle Ages. Here, Christians from the Syriac Orthodox Christian hold a celebration in Mosul, Iraq.

The Levant region of the Arab world has more Christmas activity, due to it’s location to the birthplace of Christianity, Bethlehem in Palestine. A parade is held through town on Christmas Eve, leading to the Church of the Nativity, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Christians traditionally believe the church is built over the place that Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) was born.

Very similar to their Christian brothers and sisters in the south, the Orthodox and Armenian Churches don’t celebrate Christmas on December 25th, but rather January 6th & 7th, respectfully. This leaves more time to see Christmas specials on TV or in the theaters that are in Arabic.

In Lebanon, Maronite Catholic are 35% of the population. Seen in more homes than a Christmas tree are Nativity Crib scenes. They consists of a landscape of a cave, rather than a barn or stable. There will also be spouts of chickpeas, broad-beans, lentils, oats and wheat that were grown from seeds placed on wet cotton/wool two weeks before Christmas.

Syria is slowly building itself back from the war. The Christians there that make up about 10% of the population are rebuilding their community’s Christmas spirit, celebrated on January 6th. Instead of Santa Claus, the Smallest Camel of the Wise Men is who brings gifts for the kids on the Eve of Christmas. Legend says that the Wise Men traveled in a caravan with many camels to Bethlehem. The smallest camel was exhausted, but determined. For his loyalty and will, he got the blessing of immortality and hence, on every January 5th night, the little camel brings gifts.

The country of Jordan also has a number of churches, most of whom use the liturgical year calendar, also known as the church year. This consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determine when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed.   Most hotels, shops and businesses in Jordan, especially the larger cities, will have some form of decorations and brunch specials.

Check out these A Crafty Arab Christmas s tutorial

Arabic Christmas Pallet {Tutorial}

Arabic Christmas Card {Printable}

Arabic Christmas Ornament

Be sure to visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more tutorials that teach about the Arab world.

A Crafty Arab is Going to Morocco {Outing}

In April 2019, I will be traveling back to magical Morroco to offer an art & cooking tour.


I am working with award winning travel agency Caravan-Serai to take friends to four northern cities. We will explore the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that will showcase how different they truly are.

Hassan Tower in Rabat, Morocco


We will land in the capital of Morocco, called the White Imperial City, Rabat. After assistance with airport formalities, we will be driven to a group welcome lunch. We will then check into a riad for the evening. A riad is a type of traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. Rabat has a rich, long history and we will learn about it in art guided tours of the colonial architecture left behind, along with a culinary tour of coastal influences in a group cooking class. Local sights include Hassan tower, the splendid Mohamed V Mausoleum, the Kasbah of Oudayas and the Medina.

Chouara Tannery Fes, Morocco. Softening liquid on top and dye on bottom.


Three days are devoted to the sightseeing of Fes, the Medieval City, the most ancient cultural and spiritual city of Morocco. This medieval marvel has been frozen in a time capsule and houses the world’s oldest university, Karaouine Mosque, a World Heritage site. Art guided tours include a visit through the old medina to see different craftsmen still operating in the old oriental traditions in Fes El Jdid and the Jewish district. We will also visit the historic Nejjarine Musuem of Wooden Arts & Crafts and Batha Museum to learn about geometric patterns that make this area unique. Hammam options will also be made available for anyone interested in experiencing a private treatment. We will have an evening cooking demonstration of Amazigh & Tunisian influences, as Fes cooks are considered the country’s most elegant & gifted.

Chefchaouen, Morocco. A typically blue-rinsed hamam, bath house.


Chefchaouen is called the Blue City and is tucked away high in the Rif mountains. It remained shut off from the world for almost 500 years, forbidden to Christians until 1920. Now its narrow, labyrinthine streets, decked in shades of blue buildings with red tile roofs, are open to all. Its relaxed easy atmosphere is a strong contrast to the bustling bigger city life. The art tour will include historical visits to the Medina to relax along the Plaza Uta Hammam. We will learn about the influences of the neighboring Andalucían in the unusual octagonal tower of the Grande Mosque, visit the kasbah, & enjoy the Ethnographic Museum, stopping for moment to enjoy the breathtaking views it offers. We will visit the falls of Ras El Maa, and delight in a cooking demonstration of Mediterranean influences.

Tetouan, Morocco. Roman (Emperor Augustus period) wall exhibited at the Archaeological Museum.


Tétouan, sometimes called the White City or The Daughter of Granada is also situated in the Rif Mountains and was built by Muslim refugees from Spain in the 15th century. It is one of only two Moroccan Mediterranean port cities and is known for its craftsmanship and musical gracefulness. We will tour the Hispano-Moorish influence in the architecture of the Medina, a Unesco world Heritage site. We will also explore Tétouan’s culinary influences from local Amazigh, Andalusian and Ottoman cuisine, brought by Algerian immigrants, in a cooking demonstration.


On our last day, after a group goodbye breakfast, we departure from Rabat–Salé airport for our return flight.



Accommodation will be at authentic Moroccan bed & breakfast riads. Local chefs will be doing one cooking demonstrations with all local ingredients in each of the four cities to showcase the diversity of Moroccan cuisine. Tours are accompanied by an art guide, with an M.A. in International Studies, specializing in the Middle East and Museology, from the University of Washington, who has recently traveled to Morocco.

Included in your tour:
• 9 nights’ accommodation in bed and breakfast riads
• 4 cooking demonstrations showcasing the diversity of Moroccan food
• Air conditioned minibus with a qualified driver at disposal every day
• English speaking art guide at disposal every day
• Entrance fees to monuments and museums with {exterior} visit of mosques
• English speaking Islamic geometric art lesson
• Full booking assistance with award winning agency
• Taxes

Not included in your tour:
• All personal extra purchases of gifts, clothing, etc
• Lunches and dinners not included in cooking demos
• Drinks during the meals, mini bar, etc
• Tips for guides and drivers
• Travel insurance
• Airline tickets

The total price for the trip is $2200. If you are interested in joining us, please call 206-545-7300 to talk to a travel agent.

To prepare for your trip, visit these previous posts on Morocco

Morocco Flag Candy Dish {Tutorial}

Morocco Sweet Stew {Recipe}


Visit the Morocco Art & Cooking tour Facebook page to keep updated on articles & happenings.


Be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more on our Morocco board.