“Eleven Words for Love” — A Snapshot of a Palestinian Family in Exile

Through poignant images and lyrical definitions of love, “Eleven Words for Love” captures moments of passionate love, sorrow for those lost and a yearning for homeland.

“Eleven Words for Love” — A Snapshot of a Palestinian Family in Exile
Randa Abdel-Fattah's most recent book has already been shortlisted for the 2023 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature.

“Eleven Words for Love: A Journey Through Arabic Expressions of Love” is a new picture book that was written by Randa Abdel-Fattah  and illustrated by Maxine Beneba Clarke. The book, which follows a Palestinian family in exile, explores themes of family, loyalty and friendship through the lens of 11 Arabic expressions for love.

The publisher’s website describes the book as follows:

A family has fled their homeland in search of safety in another country, carrying a single suitcase. As their journey unfolds, the oldest child reflects on the special contents of that suitcase: photo albums that evoke eleven of many names for love in Arabic. From sunshine-warm friendship to the love that dissolves all tears; from the love that makes you swoon to the love that leaves you yearning for the heart's homeland — her family has experienced it all. Illustrated in vibrant watercolor pencil and collage on textured cardstock, this moving scrapbook shows a family embracing an unknown future even as they honor the past, casting immigration and the refugee experience in the light of universal human connection.

Through poignant images and lyrical definitions of love, “Eleven Words for Love” captures moments of passionate love, sorrow for those lost and a yearning for homeland. The book’s collagelike illustrations beautifully chronicle their journey, blending cherished memories with scenes of building a new life in a new place. This tender tale offers a glimpse into the lives of a displaced Palestinian family, emphasizing love and remembrance.

Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Palestinian Egyptian Muslim writer, academic, former lawyer, and the multi-award-winning author of 11 books published in more than twenty countries, including the YA novel “Does My Head Look Big in This?” and a graphic novel series. She has been nominated twice for the Astrid Lindgren Award. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian poet and writer of Afro Caribbean descent. She is the author of five books for children, including “The Patchwork Bike,” a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner and Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year. She is also the author-illustrator of the critically acclaimed picture books “When We Say Black Lives Matter” and “Fashionista.”

Purchase your copy of “Eleven Words for Love” at the link below.

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