Palestine Book Club

Children under the Occupation


Wednesday, 21st March 2018, 18:30 - 20:00


Discussion on Palestinian History and Culture Convened by Andy Simons

Young Palestinians Speak by Annemarie & Anthony Robinson, Dreaming of Freedom by Norma Hashim, Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq & Dancing Arabs by Sayed Kashua


March book choices are about Children under the Occupation.

“Young Palestinians Speak: Living under Occupation” (Interlink Publications, 2017). In Palestine today, a second generation of children and young people is growing up experiencing life under oc- cupation.These are children who know only fear when they see an Israeli soldier or come across a roadblock.This book provides a platform for young people, from all over this occupied land, to speak in their own voices about the day-to-day experience of living under occupation.

“Dreaming of Freedom : Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak” (Saba Islamic Media, 2016). An anthol- ogy of accounts by Palestinian children of their experiences of arrest and military incarceration by the Israeli Occupation Forces. The prisoners’ diaries provide a deeply moving series of rst-person commentaries on what Palestinian prisoners have been enduring for decades in the dark recesses of Israel’s unlawful and inhumane network of prisons. Edited and published during the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, this collection serves to inform us that for Palestinians, imprisonment has become a fact of life, rather than a blatant violation of human rights.

“Baddawi” (Just World Books, 2015) Graphic novel. Baddawi is a coming-of-age story about a young boy named Ahmad struggling to nd his place in the world. Raised in a refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon,Ahmad is just one of the thousands of Palestinians who ed their homeland after the war in 1948 established the state of Israel. In this visually arresting graphic novel, Leila Abdelrazaq explores her father’s childhood in the 1960s and ‘70s from a boy’s eye view as he wit- nesses the world crumbling around him and attempts to carry on, forging his own path in the midst of terrible uncertainty.Ahmad grows up in a crowded yet vibrant community amidst mounting unrest and violence in his host country, experiencing joys such as holidays and adventures with his friends, and facing heavy burdens, from a schoolyard bully to separation from his family during the Lebanese civil war.Ahmad’s dogged pursuit of education and opportunity echoes the journey of the Palestinian people, as they make the best of their present circumstances while remaining steadfast in their determination to one day return to their homeland.

“Dancing Arabs” (Grove Press, 2004).The debut novel by 28-year-old Arab-Israeli Kashua has been praised around the world for its honesty, irony, humor, and its uniquely human portrayal of a young man who moves between two societies, becoming a stranger to both. The second-class status of Israeli Palestinians is often overlooked but this story shows a bit of what it’s been like to grow up in that environment. In this case the narrator, a Israeli Palestinian boy, seeks a normal life and tries at times to pass as a Jew.


An informal, monthly reading group in which recent, non-expensive books on Palestinian history and culture can be discussed. Titles for the next session will be chosen by consensus.. Attendance is by registration, and booking is essential.


Andy Simons, the host, is the retired British Library Curator of UK 20th Century publications, and runs palestinebooks.net, the most complete bibliography of English-language books on the history of the Palestinian struggle.



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