Tag Archives: Naomi Shihab Nye

Crossing lines

7 Jul

Billed as a modern-day  retelling of Romeo & Juliet, Ronit & Jamil,  by Pamela L. Laskin is a novel in verse.

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Publisher’s Summary: Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred.

The teenage lovers fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can only be kept secret for so long. Ronit and Jamil must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.

To my mind, the book reminds me less of Romeo & Juliet than Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye, which came out in 1999.

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Publisher’s Summary: The day after Liyana got her first real kiss, her life changed forever. Not because of the kiss, but because it was the day her father announced that the family was moving from St. Louis all the way to Palestine. Though her father grew up there, Liyana knows very little about her family’s Arab heritage. Her grandmother and the rest of her relatives who live in the West Bank are strangers, and speak a language she can’t understand. It isn’t until she meets Omer that her homesickness fades. But Omer is Jewish, and their friendship is silently forbidden in this land. How can they make their families understand? And how can Liyana ever learn to call this place home?

Habibi  won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and it is one that I don;t have in my classroom library, that I now think I want to add. As much as I liked Ronit & Jamil,  there is some mature content that precludes me putting it in a 6th grade classroom library.

 

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