#DecolonizeReading2023 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese American Immigrant

"Deep is your longing for the land of your memories." - Kahlil Gibran

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual.

This year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized
  5. Translated or international literature

Hope Is An Arrow: The Story Of Lebanese American Poet Kahlil Gibran (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Cory McCarthy Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Published by Candlewick Press (2022) ISBN: 9781536200324 (ISBN10: 1536200328) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I have read and featured Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (Amazon | Book Depository) and go back to its wisdom time and again. And so, it was with a measure of excitement that I immediately bought a copy of this picturebook biography the minute I learned of its existence.

I have always assumed that Kahlil Gibran was born, grew up and lived in the Middle East – and so I was surprised to learn that he was actually an immigrant and grew up in Boston and lived later on in New York. The image above caught my eye – particularly, the homemade remedies done by people decades ago to address injuries, pains, and hurts.

I especially appreciated the direct quotes / extracts culled from Kahlil’s own words peppered throughout the narrative. Kahlil’s mother’s initial struggles – left with no recourse but to sell fabric and lace and cloths to rich people in Boston who referred to their family as “Syrian immigrants” – were also movingly portrayed.

I also enjoyed reading the extensive backmatter that provided even more information about Kahlil Gibran’s history, his loves, the patronage that enabled him to pursue the life of a poet, and his acute sensitivity to the world around him. Ekua Holmes’ art work, as per usual, is rich in detail, demanding the reader to revisit each page again and again for anything that may have been missed in the first reading. Definitely a picturebook biography that should find its way into your bookshelves.


#DecolonizeReading2023 Update: 5 out of target 100


How about you? What is your #Top22of2022 for nonfiction?

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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