Hayaat is thirteen and lives in Bethlehem with her extended family. They are Muslim and her father and grandfather were once the proud owners of land in the now Israeli-controlled section. Travel is difficult for them, if not near to impossible as you need certain colors of cards to go anywhere. Hayaat has a friend, Samy, who is a boy, an unusual friendship for the area, girls don’t have best friends that are boys. In fact her elders tut tut when they see the two together. When Hayaat sees and hears her grandmother yearn for her old home, she gets the idea to go into Jerusalem and get some soil from there for her. The area is not far away, but for her and her family it is dangerous and forbidden. The book starts somewhat slow as we are introduced to the family and their connections. Once the reader gets past that it is adventurous, eye-opening, and a great read. This is a story of current Israel from a Palestinian point-of-view. There are now walls dividing the cities, barriers, check-points, and other obstacles for these people. Even getting to the daughter’s wedding only a few miles away is time consuming and difficult.
Review by Fay Mason, Churchill Jr. High School Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 5-9
Where the Streets Had a Name
Written by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Release Date: November 1, 2010
ISBN: 9780545172929 (hardcover)