By Hannah Moushabeck
Illustrated by Reem Madooh
Published by Chronicle Books, 2023, US$18.99, hardcover,
40 pages, full-color illustrations, 24 cm x 25.4 cm
For children aged 5 to 8 years
A father and his daughters may not be able to return home – but they can celebrate stories of their homeland!
As bedtime approaches, three young girls eagerly await the return of their father, who tells them stories of a faraway homeland: Palestine. Through their father’s memories, the Old City of Jerusalem comes to life: the sounds of street vendors beating rhythms with brass coffee cups, the smell of argileh drifting through windows, and the sight of doves flapping their wings toward home. These daughters of the diaspora feel love for a place they have never been, a place they cannot go. But, as their father’s story comes to an end, they know that through his memories, they will always return.
A Palestinian family celebrates the stories of their homeland in this moving autobiographical picture book debut by Hannah Moushabeck. With heartfelt illustrations by Reem Madooh, this story is a love letter to home, to family, and to the persisting hope of people that transcends borders.
From Palestinian American poet and children’s book author Naomi Shihab Nye: “Hannah Moushabeck has written a marvelous, utterly transporting story describing the gentle power of precious transmitted memory, and the wistfulness of immigrants, particularly those in exile from an occupied or altered place. With superb illustrations by Reem Madooh, and an exquisite image of circling pigeons who don’t wish to leave their home at all, Homeland does what decades of sad news stories have repeatedly failed to do for Palestine: humanize a beautiful people and place. I wish my father were alive so I could give him this book.”
In a just-published review, Publishers Weekly called it “a quietly moving intergenerational reminiscence of a family’s homeland,” while a review in Kirkus praised it as “A beautiful tale of family, love for a lost homeland, and remembrance … a stirring tale with details that evoke the senses.”
Hannah Moushabeck is a second-generation Palestinian American author, editor, and marketer who was raised in a family of booksellers and publishers in western Massachusetts. Born into Interlink Publishing, a family-run independent publishing company, she learned the power of literature at a young age. Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine is her first picture book. She lives in western Massachusetts, near her family.
Reem Madooh is an illustrator with an MA in children’s book illustration. She lives in Kuwait.