Book Release: Balcony on the Moon
In her new book Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine, Ibtisam Barakat offers readers a glimpse into her life as a young woman living in the occupied West Bank in the 1970s and 1980s. The companion to Barakat’s earlier work, Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood, Balcony on the Moon begins with Barakat as a second-grader, seeking answers to tough questions in a grief-ridden reality of checkpoints, the occupation, and family struggles. She quickly realizes that she “cannot do anything about Iraq and Iran, the American hostages, Lebanon, the civil war and the Palestinian camps,” but that she can excel in school and work towards a better life. Barakat recounts her greatest academic triumph: tutoring her own mother and encouraging her to go back to school.
Writing Balcony on the Moon allowed Barakat “to heal some of the hardships imposed” on her by her Palestinian identity while offering a poignant message on the importance of education for young women. “Freedom of education for all children, and opportunities for lifelong learning for all people are fundamental human needs not only for individuals, but also for humanity as a collective,” she says. “Educational empowerment for girls and women especially promise massive possibilities of positive change.”
Publisher’s Weekly writes that the book is, “brimming with humor, wisdom, and empathy.” It is a must-read for all ages, especially young adults, as it serves as an inspiring account of a girl turned writer, who empowered those around her along the way.
For more on Barakat’s work, visit her website.