Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World

Elsa Marston
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/13/2008
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-22004-2
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Independent Book Publishers Awards, Silver Medal, Multicultural Children's Fiction

What is it like to be a young person in the Arab world today? This lively collection of eight short stories about Arab teenagers living in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and a Palestinian refugee camp engagingly depicts young people's experiences growing up in the Middle East. The characters, drawn from urban and rural settings and from different classes as well as a mix of countries, confront situations involving friends, family, teachers, and society at large. Along with some specifically Middle Eastern issues, such as strife in Iraq, the hardships of life in a Palestinian refugee camp, and honor crimes, the young people deal with more familiar concerns such as loyalty to friends, overcoming personal insecurities, dreams of a future career, and coping with divorcing parents. Coming of age in a complicated world, they meet life with courage, determination, and, not least of all, humor. With accompanying notes that provide contextual information, Santa Claus in Baghdad brings a fresh perspective to youth literature about the Arab world.

Author Bio

Elsa Marston is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, mostly for young adults. Her books include Women in the Middle East: Tradition and Change, The Cliffs of Cairo, and Muhammad of Mecca, Prophet of Islam. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

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Table of Contents


1. Santa Claus in Baghdad
A story from Iraq (2000)
Do the best gifts always have to come at a high price?
2. Faces
A story from Syria
How can you try to make someone else happy when your own world is coming apart?
3. The Hand of Fatima
A story from Lebanon
Which comes first—loyalty to others or faith in your own dreams?
4. The Olive Grove
A story from Palestine
Just how do you choose your battles?
5. In Line
A story from Egypt
Will a city girl ever feel quite at home in a farming village?
6. Scenes in a Roman Theater
A story from Tunisia
Do you have to wait for the story of your life to change—or can you help to tell it yourself?
7. Honor
A story from Jordan
Whose honor is at stake when a girl breaks the rules?
8. The Plan
A story from a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
Can the spring flowers bloom—and love blossom—where hope is so scarce?


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