REVIEW: Tasting the Sky by Ibtisam Barakat

Perhaps few kidlit bloggers have penned more words about their passion than Betsy Bird, better known as Fuse #8. Her popular blog moved to the School Library Journal‘s website earlier this year, where she’s kept up a torrent of reviews, news and witty commentary.

Her search for a Palestinian perspective on the Middle East led her to Tasting the Sky, a memoir of one woman’s childhood during the 1967 Six Day War and its aftermath:

If dehumanizing occupation is inherently political, then yes, there are politics in this book. More than anything, though, I was struck by Ms. Barakat’s ability to write without pointing fingers or blame. Her primary goal is to attain peace in the land of her birth. Mentions of things like bulldozers are only brought up in the beginning.

Betsy also gives us snippets of Barakat’s prose:

An Israeli soldier butchering his Arabic pronunciations makes, "the words sound like they have been beaten up, bruised so blue they can hardly speak their meaning." When shouting down a well she says, "We called out one another’s names; the echoes returned to us as though our voices had grown older than we were." I liked that the teenaged Ibtisam felt so claustrophobic under her mother’s attentions that she wrote, "Mothers and soldiers are enemies of freedom. I am doubly occupied."

Read the rest here.