Arab American Heritage Month Picks

By American Writers Museum

By American Writers Museum

Writer Sahar Mustafah selects books by Arab American writers that have positively shaped her life and writing career.

Never in a Hurry: Essays on People and Places

Naomi Shihab Nye

$18.95

This was the first collection of essays I discovered by an Arab American woman, and one who specifically identified as Palestinian. It suddenly enlarged the space I’d been reading and writing in. I felt seen.

Out of Place: A Memoir

Edward W. Said

$17.00 $15.64

This memoir helps articulate the existential crisis I inherited as a Palestinian American. The critical genius of Said is rivaled only by his compelling narrative of displacement and a desire to document one’s life.

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf

Mojha Kahf

$17.99 $16.55

Kahf’s incisively told novel felt close to home as a native Midwesterner. One Syrian American woman’s pursuit of self-determination frames the lives of Muslim characters as they navigate a bigoted landscape in the 1970’s.

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Laila Lalami

$15.95 $14.67

This poignantly linked collection revealed to me there’s a larger, global audience for our stories. Lalami approaches the experiences of migration and survival with nuance and ambition in her first book.

Arab in America

Toufic El Rassi

$14.95

As an educator, I find a comic or graphic text to be one of the most powerful ways to engage an audience on fraught and sensitive subjects. El Rassi’s moving portrait reveals what it’s like to come of age in America and the history of media’s distortion of Arabs and Muslims leading up to and including 9/11.

Sitti's Secrets (Reprint)

Naomi Shihab Nye and Nancy Carpenter

$7.99 $7.35

In great company with my favorites Good Night, Moon and Corduroy, this book containing characters who resembled my family finally fell into my daughters’ hands. Nye’s story celebrates Palestinian heritage and acknowledges a yearning for basic human rights.