At turns heartbreaking and humorous, this coming-of-age story is a must read. Leila Abdelrazaq tells the story of her father Ahmad’s childhood growing up as a Palestinian refugee, from first grade through to his decision to attend college in the United States. Ahmad grows up shuttling back and forth between the Baddawi refugee camp where he was born and Beirut, where his father eventually gets a job working as an apartment manager, living wherever is safer and has better schooling options at any given moment. Moments of death and destruction, including the loss of friends and family, share space with comedic childhood mishaps, including early attempts at entrepreneurship and some dubious boat making. Abdelrazaq uses black and white illustration to great effect, playing with negative and positive space. The book’s continuing relevance makes it all the more powerful.
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