April is National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) and, since official statement in 2022 by President Biden, is intended to celebrate the heritage and culture of Arab-Americans and recognize the contributions of Arab Americans and Arab-Speaking Americans. It's an opportunity to increase our understanding of the diverse aspects of Arab American heritage, especially in post-9/11 America.
Arab typically refers to Arabic-speaking countries and people and generally encompasses the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However, it is important to note that not all countries and their people in MENA are considered Arab because they have different origins, languages, and customs, such as the Turks and Persians.
NAAHM celebrate the American citizens and descendants of Arab people from the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
While we should be doing this all year, but especially in April, celebrate Arab culture, history, cuisine, art, and people. You can follow the Arab American Institute at AAIUSA.org for more.
If you looking for book recommendations by Arab-American authors, you've come to the right place! Make sure to read Arab-American writers to celebrate National Arab-American Heritage Month. Order your titles now so you can read them in April.
1. From Syrian-American author, Zoulfa Katouh, As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow is a love letter to Syria and its people. It is a speculative novel set amid the Syrian Revolution, burning with the fires of hope, love, and possibility.
2. Check out How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Bring Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi An eye-opening look at how young Arab- and Muslim- Americans are forging lives for themselves in a country that often mistakes them for the enemy
3. A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga is a MUST READ. This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.
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Happy Arab American Heritage Month! What are you reading this month?