I was so surprised to realize that author Nora Lester Murad was my neighbor at my old house, about a mile from where I live now! Everyone in our close-knit neighborhood knew Nora and her family and said how wonderful they were.
They were abroad living in Jerusalem when I moved in. My kids played with their tenants’ children. I knew that one spouse was Jewish and the other Muslim. It was an interesting combination. I hoped to meet them, but somehow I never got the chance even though they came back every few years for a short visit.
Then, I stumbled on Nora’s young adult book, Ida in the Middle, at the Boston Book Festival. I had just met the nice folks at Interlink Publishing through Multicultural Children’s Book Day via Zoom. I recognized them in the flesh and Michel was handing me piles of books to take home to review.
I looked at the cover of Ida in the Middle and did a double take. The author’s name was so familiar, but I struggled to place it since I had no idea that my neighbor is also an author. Then it dawned on me. I asked Michel if Nora lived in Newton. She did. Then I gasped that I knew her and we were neighbors! He smiled and we both realized how small the world is!
When Nora had a book event at Brookline Booksmith, I leaped at the chance to finally meet her. Here is her talk:
Nora Lester Murad with Areen Bahour: Ida in the Middle
She and Areen took Q and A: here:
Nora is part of the #ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2023:
January 23, 2023: Nora Lester Murad with a list of Palestinian books for kids recommended by Palestinian teachers with three signed book GIVEAWAY!
I can’t wait to meet her for coffee now that she is finally back in Newton! How about you? Have you ever found an interesting and/or unexpected connection with a children’s book author or illustrator? Please share!
p.s. Related posts:
Arab American Book Lists for Kids
This is my collection of the best picture books I’ve read so far about the Arab world.
In the wake of the conflicts in the Middle East, I thought it especially important for kids to learn about Islam and the people of the Middle East which might also teach them tolerance in the process. There is so much negative stereotyping during a war that can color a child’s perspective.
Deborah Ellis’s Parvana series shows a realistic view of what life is like in Afghanistan for girls today. It’s heartbreaking but also so important.
Chapter book The Pharoah’s Secret by Marissa Moss discovered in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Did I find Senenmut, Hatshepsut’s love there?!
To examine any book more closely at Indiebound or Amazon, please click on image of book.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.