Unlike the alphabet books which currently saturate the children’s book market in the UK, where A is for apple and B is for ball, “P is for Palestine” offers young readers something new – a window onto the culture and heritage of Palestine. In Dr. Golbarg Bashi’s book, A is for Arabic and B is for Bethlehem.
Not only is Bashi’s publication an alphabetical journey through which the reader discovers dabkeh (dance), falafel, labneh (yogurt), thobes (traditional dress) and waraqa dawali (stuffed vine leaves), the beautiful illustrations by the Iranian artist and illustrator Golrokh Nafisi bring Palestine alive.
One of the refreshing aspects of “P is for Palestine” is that the young girl featured throughout the story does not represent the Eurocentric image of a lead character – for example she has curly, not straight hair – and also, she is not predominantly defined by her struggle. She celebrates the best baklawas, Eid and Christmas, where she looks forward to the crunchiest candy.
This break from traditional UK books means that many of the words featured will be new and “P is for Palestine” would benefit from being more interactive, for example flaps which young children can lift up to reveal what’s underneath and encourage them to engage with the unfamiliar material.
This book is on the recommend list for the Palestine Book Awards 2018, please click here to read the full review on the Palestine book awards site