Santa Claus in Baghdad : Stories About Teens in the Arab World
by Marston, Elsa

Santa Claus in Baghdad
A story from Iraq (2000)
Do the best gifts always have to come at a high price?
A story from Syria
How can you try to make someone else happy when your own world is coming apart?
The Hand of Fatima
A story from Lebanon
Which comes first--loyalty to others or faith in your own dreams?
The Olive Grove
A story from Palestine
Just how do you choose your battles?
In Line
A story from Egypt
Will a city girl ever feel quite at home in a farming village?
Scenes in a Roman Theater
A story from Tunisia
Do you have to wait for the story of your life to change--or can you help to tell it yourself?
A story from Jordan
Whose honor is at stake when a girl breaks the rules?
The Plan
A story from a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
Can the spring flowers bloom--and love blossom--where hope is so scarce?

A collection of eight stories, most previously published in other anthologies, about what it is like to grow up in the Middle East today.

Elsa Marston is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, mostly for young adults. Her books include Women in the Middle East: Tradition and Change, The Cliffs of Cairo, and Muhammad of Mecca, Prophet of Islam. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Marston's timely and engaging collection of eight short stories offers provocative snapshots of Arab teenagers growing up in environments riddled with religious, historical and cultural dilemmas. These teens confront common coming-of-age issues as well as their unique indigenous challenges. In war-weary Baghdad, Amal discovers that a gift for her teacher comes at a high price. In ancient Damascus, Suhayl copes with his parents' divorce by making a special meal for the mother he must leave. In Lebanon, Aneesi chooses between an arranged marriage and her own dreams. In occupied Palestine, Mujahhid wages his own jihad against Israeli soldiers. Uprooted from modern Cairo, Rania defies her urbane mother by consorting with a village girl. In historic Tunisia, Hedi discovers he may have a future beyond selling hats to tourists. In Jordan, Yasmine wonders what is honorable about a family who would murder a daughter to save face. In a bleak Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Rami finds the perfect wife for his brother. Amid unrest, resilient Arab teens find courage and hope and offer inspiration. (notes) (Fiction. 10-15) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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