In this Book

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World
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summary

What is it like to be a young person in the Arab world today? This lively collection of eight short stories about Arab teenagers living in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and a Palestinian refugee camp engagingly depicts young people's experiences growing up in the Middle East. The characters, drawn from urban and rural settings and from different classes as well as a mix of countries, confront situations involving friends, family, teachers, and society at large. Along with some specifically Middle Eastern issues, such as strife in Iraq, the hardships of life in a Palestinian refugee camp, and honor crimes, the young people deal with more familiar concerns such as loyalty to friends, overcoming personal insecurities, dreams of a future career, and coping with divorcing parents. Coming of age in a complicated world, they meet life with courage, determination, and, not least of all, humor. With accompanying notes that provide contextual information, Santa Claus in Baghdad brings a fresh perspective to youth literature about the Arab world.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. 1. Santa Claus in Baghdad: A story from Iraq (2000): Do the best gifts always have to come at a high price?
  2. pp. 1-30
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  1. 2. Faces: A story from Syria: How can you try to make someone else happy when your own world is coming apart?
  2. pp. 31-48
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  1. 3. The Hand of Fatima: A story from Lebanon: Which comes first—loyalty to others or faith in your own dreams?
  2. pp. 49-68
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  1. 4. The Olive Grove: A story from Palestine: Just how do you choose your battles?
  2. pp. 69-90
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  1. 5. In Line: A story from Egypt: Will a city girl ever feel quite at home in a farming village?
  2. pp. 91-112
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  1. 6. 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?
  2. pp. 113-128
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  1. 7. Honor: A story from Jordan: Whose honor is at stake when a girl breaks the rules?
  2. pp. 129-160
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  1. 8. The Plan: A story from a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon: Can the spring flowers bloom—and love blossom—where hope is so scarce?
  2. pp. 161-181
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 183-198
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