November 08, 2014

The Turtle of Oman: A Novel by Naomi Shihab Nye #thanks @NightOwlReviews

In this brief novel, told in short chapters by the acclaimed poet and National Book Award finalist Naomi Shihab Nye, Aref Al-Amri says good-bye to everything and everyone he loves in his hometown of Muscat, Oman, as his family prepares to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is Naomi Shihab Nye’s first novel set in the Middle East since her acclaimed Habibi.

Aref Al-Amri does not want to leave Oman. He does not want to leave his elementary school, his friends, or his beloved grandfather, Siddi. He does not want to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents will go to graduate school. His mother is desperate for him to pack his suitcase—but he refuses. Finally, she calls Siddi for help. But rather than pack, Aref and Siddi go on a series of adventures. They visit the camp of a thousand stars deep in the desert, they sleep on Siddi’s roof, they fish in the Gulf of Oman and dream about going to India, they travel to the nature reserve to watch the sea turtles. At each stop, Siddi finds a small stone that he later slips into Aref’s suitcase—mementos of home.

This accessible, exquisite novel shines with gentle humor and explores themes of moving, family, nature, and immigration. Naomi Shihab Nye’s warmth, attention to detail, and belief in the power of empathy and connection shines from every page. Features black-and-white spot art and decorations by Betsy Peterschmidt.

About the Author

Naomi Shihab Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University. She is a novelist, poet and songwriter.

She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2010.

My Review 5 Stars

The Turtle of Oman is a cute novel that show us that culture and location differences are sometimes not so different.  And that sometimes having to move to a new place although scary might be fun as well. One of the biggest issues in this book to start is that Aref worries that he will not be accepted in his new home of Michigan. So he starts to research his new destination.  

This is a cute little book for the lower grades that I think would help kids out that are switching from one place to another (in extreme situations ie. country etc.) It was fast paces and easy to read and follow.  

Go Into This One Knowing

Fast great for kids that are going through an extreme change.
"All opinions are 100% honest and my own."

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From School Library Journal

Gr 3–6—In the last week before his family leaves Oman for a three-year stint in Michigan, Aref has a hard time saying good-bye to his beloved home, particularly his grandfather, Sidi. Readers are never told Aref's exact age; he is clearly articulate, yet excerpts from his notebook show his writing has not transitioned to cursive. Friends come to say goodbye; the suitcase must be packed; and Sidi takes Aref for an overnight camping trip, fishing on the Indian Ocean and memorably, to visit a nesting ground for many kinds of turtles. The language is fresh and lyrical at times, with vivid descriptions of daily life and Aref's obvious anxiety about leaving. Not much happens in the way of plot, but the excellence of the portrayal of the setting and the emotional state of a young boy subject to the loving whims of his parents are vividly captured. "When you drove out in the country, you felt closer to the earth than you felt in the city. You had better thoughts in the country. Your thoughts made falcon moves, dipping and rippling, swooping back into your brain to land." The omniscient narration thus brings a larger context than Aref alone could share. Simply told, yet richly rewarding.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO

Disclaimer: Thanks to Goodreads and Amazon for the book cover, about the book, and author information.


Thais Pampado said...

This sounds like a really interesting read. I like book that talk about real life issues in a way that kids can understand them better and not fear it anymore.

Deanna Stevens said...

What a great book for kids. moving is sometimes so scary. Good topic ;)

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