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            Middle East Resources

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YP 372.642 B197ap

Baltuck, Naomi. Apples From Heaven: Multicultural Folktales About Stories and Storytellers. North Haven, CT: Linnet Books, 1995.

This collection of folktales from many countries includes The Golden Lamb (Iraq;) Ali the Persian (Iraq;) Truth and Parable (Yiddish;) The Sage's Gift (Middle East;) and Lighting the Fire (Hasidic.)


J 398 A658a

The Arabian Nights: Tales From The Thousand and One Nights. Illus. by E.J.Detmold. New York, NY: Dodd, Mead, 1949.

Part of the "Great Illustrated Classics," this collection contains nine of the best known tales from the 1885 version of "Arabian Nights" published by Richard Burton. This version is more readable version than the edition by Kate Wiggin.


J 398 A65w

Wiggin, Kate Douglas, ed. The Arabian Nights: Their Best-Known Tales. Ed. by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith. Illus. by Maxfield Parrish. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1956.

Editors chose ten tales; four are similar titles to those in the previous book by E.J. Detmold. This edition was originally published in 1909, so the tales are longer and more formal.


J  398.2  H496lu

Henderson, Kathy.  Lugalbanda: The Boy Who Got Caught Up In a War.  Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2006.

Five-thousand-year-old Sumerian tale of the city Uruk located in present-day Iraq.  With the help of goddess Inana, King Enmerkar leads army to conquer another city.  Lugalbanda saves the army, becomes second King of Uruk and is succeeded by the third King, Gilgamesh.


YP 398.2 M123gi

McCaughrean, Geraldine. Gilgamesh: The Hero. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books, 2002.

Award-winning author relates "the oldest recorded story" about Gilgamesh, a king who reigned over the Sumerian city of Uruk about 3000 BC.


YP 398.2 S553tr

Sherman, Josepha. Trickster Tales: Forty Folk Stories From Around the World. Little Rock, AR: August House, 1996.

Included in these forty trickster tales are five Near Eastern stories from Ancient Babylonia, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. The preface stresses the commonality of humans even though the customs and culture differ.


YP 398.2 W811

Forest, Heather. Wisdom Tales From Around the World. Little Rock, AR: August House, 1996.

Four short Sufi stories of Mulla Nasrudin, a Muslim cleric known for humorous anecdotes, and three stories from the Jewish tradition are included.


J 398.2 Y71wh

Young, Ed. What About Me? New York, NY: Philomel, 2002.

Award winning illustrator, Ed Young relates this Sufi (Islamic mysticism) tale where a young boy seeks knowledge from the Grand Master who requests a carpet before he can help the boy. To get a carpet, the boy must help the carpet maker, locate goat hair, etc. After his series of tasks the Grand Master's Morals are revealed: "Some of the most precious gifts that we receive are those we receive when we are giving" and "Often knowledge comes to us when we least expect it."


J 398.21 S457en

Shepard, Aaron. The Enchanted Storks: A Tale of Bagdad. New York, NY: Clarion Books, 1995.

Classic folktale of Iraq where the Calif of Baghdad is changed into a stork by a brother who wants to rule. Calif triumphs in the end and regains rule of Baghdad.





YP F615sh

Fletcher, Susan. Shadow Spinner. New York, NY: Atheneum, 1998.

Marjan becomes part of the harem and seeks new stories for Shahrazad (from The Arabian Nights) to tell to the Sultan.


YP N216be

Napoli, Donna Jo. Beast. New York, NY: Atheneum, 2000.

Fantasy prequel to Beauty and the Beast by a well known young-adult author incorporates Islamic culture and Persian history into the story of a Persian prince who is changed into a beast.


J  S783al

Stamaty, Mark Alan. Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq. New York, NY: Knopf, 2004.

Cartoon version of the heroic efforts of Alia Muhammad Baker, librarian of the library in Basrah, Iraq, who smuggled over 30,000 books to safety before the American bombing.


JPB Winter

Winter, Jeanette. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story From Iraq. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2005.

Winter uses a picture-book format to relate the story of librarian Alia Muhammad Baker, who convinces neighbors and friends to help remove books from the Basrah Library nine days before it is destroyed.





J M441ma

Matthews, Mary. Magid Fasts for Ramadan. New York, NY: Clarion, 1996.

Islamic beliefs are introduced through the story of "Magid, an eight-year-old Muslim boy in Cairo who is determined to celebrate Ramadan by fasting despite opposition of his family who feels he is not old enough."


YP 297 K45mu

Khan, Rikhsana. Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories and Poems. Morton Grove, IL, Albert Whitman, 2002.

The author conveys the customs and beliefs of Islam through eight personal narratives. Sidebars define the Arabic words and customs mentioned in the story. Final pages include a pronunciation guide to terms plus the printing of the word in Arabic.


YP 297 M988is

McGraw-Hill. Islam. Columbus, OH: Peter Bendricks, 2001.

Written in the style of Dorling Kindersley books, there are many small illustrations and much factual text.


J 297.351 K45wh

Khan, Aisha Karen. What You Will See Inside a Mosque. Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths, 2003.

Photos from North American Mosques depict the architecture. The descriptions of Muslim culture, the definitions of Islamic words, and the explanations of religious rituals teach students about the Muslim religion and Islamic culture.


J 297.36 H869ce

Hoyt-Goldsmith, Dianne. Celebrating Ramadan. New York, NY: Holiday House, 2001.

Photo essay depicts the holy month of Ramadan through eyes of a fourth-grade boy, Ibraheem, as he and his family celebrate this important Islamic tradition.


YP 305.42 R621wo

Rivera, Sheila. Women of the Middle East. Edina, MN: ABDO & Daughters, 2004.

"Explores the roles and responsibilities of women throughout the Middle East, including how religion, marriage and politics influence their lives."


P.R. 915.6 R883f

Rowland, Joan. Fun and Festival from the Middle East. New York, NY: Friendship Press, 1958.

Games, songs, recipes, and shadow plays are included in this short paperback.


YP  92  S253

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. New York, NY: Random House, 2003.

Using the graphic-novel format, Satrapi relates her life in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution that began in 1979.  Satrapi, who was related to one of the last emperors, tells of her life from age six until she flees to Vienna.   Through her eyes, readers see the overthrow of the Shah, the increasing lunacy of the Khomeini regime and the devastating war with Iraq.


YP  92  S253  2004

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return.  New York, NY: 2004.

Satrapi continues the story begun in Persepolis.  Satrapi studies at the university in Vienna and then returns to Iran.  She has trouble adjusting to the sexual and political freedom in 1980 Austria; and then she must accept the repressive regime when she returns to Iran. 


P.R. 930 M571ha

Merrill, Yvonne Y. Hands-On Ancient People: Art Activities About Mesopotamia, Egypt and Islam. Salt Lake City, UT: KITS, 2002.

History, culture, and bibliographical references are included in these numerous craft projects.


P.R. 939.4 B866an

Broida, Marian. Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide. Chicago, IL: Chicago Press Review, 1999.

Egyptians as well as Mesopotamians, Nubians, and Hittites are included. Following each chapter, activities and crafts reinforce the information. Using lego pieces, one project creates a Mesopotamian house from the ancient city of Ur.


P.R.  956  H218wo

Harik, Ramsay M. Women in the Middle East: Tradition and Change.  New York, NY: Franklin Watts, 2003.

Discusses the lives of women in the Middle East today including the traditions that shape these lives, the present day religious, social and political realities, and changing expectations.


P.R. 956.7 B856fo

Briggs, Jack, ed. Fostering Friendships: A Study Guide to Iraq for Elementary and Middle School Teachers. Philadelphia, PA: American Friends Service Committee, 2000.

Designed to help students learn about Iraq and the Muslim Religion, this work includes both background material and suggested lessons. The introduction explains that Muslims are found throughout the world while Arabs are those who speak Arabic. Lessons focus on geography, culture, history, and conflict resolution.





J 720.917 L434bu

Leacroft, Helen. The Buildings of Early Islam. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1976.

Although published about thirty years ago, the cut away drawings and floor plans offer a unique perspective on Islamic architecture..


YP 915.6 R981i

Rutstein, Harry. In the Footsteps of Marco Polo: A Twentieth-Century Odyssey. New York, NY: Viking Press, 1980.

The authors describe their recreation of the journey Marco Polo undertook from Venice to Cathay.


YP 92 H972st

Stefoff, Rebecca. Saddam Hussein: Absolute Ruler of Iraq. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1995.

Written while Saddam Hussein still ruled Iraq, this biography recounts his early years of poverty with beatings and rejection from his stepfather. It also covers much of the political and historical background of Iraq.


J 92 M952de

Demi. Muhammad. New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2003.

Beautiful illustrations in this work for elementary-school children trace the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Islamic tradition does not allow pictures of Muhammad, so Demi paints him as a golden silhouette.


J 92 M952k

Kelen, Betty. Muhammad: The Messenger of God. New York, NY: Thomas Nelson, 1975.

A biography that is written on an advanced level.


YP 935 S369an

Schomp, Virginia. Ancient Mesopotamia: The Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts, 2004.

Photographs and illustrated timelines describe the lives of the people—nobles, warrior-kings, soldiers, merchants, artists, farmers, slaves, doctors and scribes—in this historic region which is the present day Iraq.


YP  953  M627  v.1-5

The Middle East. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004.

After a brief introduction of the middle east, each volume describes the countries including a map and basic facts.

Volume 1: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt.  Volume 2: Iran, Iraq, Israel.  Volume 3: Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman.  Volume 4: Qatar, Saudia Arabia, Syria.  Volume 5: Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.


YP 955 I65

Canini, Mikko, ed. Iran. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven, 2005.

From the series, "The World's Hot Spots," this work presents individual articles covering: the history of Iran from the 1979 revolution to the overthrow of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, the cultural struggles, and the current nuclear and terrorist threat posed by Iran.


YP 955 O82ir

O'Shea, Maria. Iran. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens, 2000.

Part of the "Countries of the World" Series, this work provides an overview of Iran. They list the 1997 election of Muhammad Khatami; but not the June 2005 election of Mohmoud Ahmadinejad. The book includes detailed a map of the twenty-eight provinces.


YP 956 K84ha

Kort, Michael G. Handbook of the Middle East. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2002.

After a chapter describing history, geography, and cultural groups, Kort traces history and politics of five regions: Egypt/Libya; Israel/Palestine/Jordan; Lebanon/Syria/Iraq; Turkey/Iran; and Arabian Peninsula. Maps, chronology, and encyclopedic entries make this a valuable overall description, even if it does not cover the latest Iraq War.


YP  956.04 S477ar

Senker, Cath.  The Arab-Israeli Conflict.  North Mankato, MN: Smart Apple Media, 2004.

Examines the principal causes and events related to the relationship between Israel and its Arab neighbors and considers what the outcome could be if different decisions are made during this time


YP  956.6  B668ku

Bodnarchuk, Kari J.  Kurdistan: Region Under Seige.  Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 2000.

The Kurds are considered the largest ethnic group without a country, and they seek to govern themselves in an area known as Kurdistan. Kurdistan is a landlocked, mountainous region encompassing land in present-day Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. This book presents background information on the Kurds and examines the history of their ethnic conflict with other peoples in this mountainous region. 


YP 956.7 I65

Miller, Debra A., ed. Iraq. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven, 2004.

As part of the series, "The World's Hot Spots," this work concentrates on the political conflict including the Iran-Iraq War and both Gulf Wars. Chapters are articles or excerpts of articles published in magazines, books and policy papers. Individual articles do indicate bias as the title of one is "Bush's Illegitimate War." However, the book seems to balance out as there are articles by George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.


YP  956.9  F828un

Frank, Mitch.  Understanding the Holy Land: Answering Questions About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.  New York, NY: Viking, 2005.

Time Magazine reporter presents information in an question/answer format.  Questions include: How did the Israeli-Palestinian conflict begin?, What is the PLO?, What is intifada?, and Why is peace so hard?  There is a timeline, glossary and bibliography.





VCR T429of

Thief of Baghdad. Los Angeles, CA: Embassy Home Entertainment, 1961. 89 min.

Directed by Joseph E. Levine, this Arabian Nights adventure stars Steve Reeves as Karim, who impersonates a prince to win the heart of the Sultan's daughter. This is not the1924 film starring Douglas Fairbanks nor the award-winning 1940 film by Alexander Korda.


DVD 297 I82

Islam: History, Society, and Civilization. Silver Springs, MD: Discovery Communications, c2004. 52 min.

Balanced presentation of the past and present-day philosophies and practices that define Islam. Four segments are: 1.History and Teachings of Islam; 2.Crusades; 3.Suleiman, Magnificent Leader; 4.Afghanistan: 12 Years of Violence. One central question precedes each segment. There is a guide as well as support materials on the Discoveryschool website. Grades 6-8.


VCR 956 I85

Israel & Palestine. Bethesda, MD: Discovery Channel Video, c2003. 98 min.

BBC production that includes two videocassettes. Roots of Conflict portrays the conflict in the Middle East from the perspective of the history, social issues, and role America has played in the peace process. Fight for Peace reviews the obstacles to peace between Israel and Palestine including the border disputes, refugees, terrorism and years of distrust. The video covers the Oslo Peace Accords undertaken by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993 and the failed peace accord attempted by President Clinton in 2000. Grades 9-12.


VCR 956.94 J56

Jerusalem: Within These Walls. Stamford, CT: Vestron Video, 1987. 59 min.

National Geographic's film journey to Jerusalem's Old City which is divided into four quarters—Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian. The film presents the history of Jerusalem and interviews current residents.



Kurds: MA11. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files, 1995-

This portion of the eHRAF (electronic version of Human Relations Area Files) collection contains information on the Kurds who inhabit Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria and the former Soviet Union. Twelve documents are included with information such as a marriage in Kurdistan and the formation of the Kurdish nationalist movement during World War II.






Ancient Civilizations: Mesopotamia

This site, developed by the British Museum, describes the civilizations of Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumer. For each one, there is a story (such as the excavation of the ancient site of Ur in present-day Basrah or the building of the palace at Nineveh,) an interactive "explore" link, and a "challenge" link that poses questions. Lots of pictures of artifacts. Small amounts of information with many links in text and illustration lead to further information.


Ancient Tablets, Ancient Graves: Accessing Women's Lives in Mesopotamia

A series of lesson plans based on resources listed in the book, Women in the World. The first lesson discusses women in Mesopotamia as written on cuneiform tablets. Questions are posed for students as they read the translations of the tablets.


The Code of Hammurabi

In the Avalon Project, Yale University collects documents in the law, history and diplomacy. For the Code of Hammurabi (ruler of Babylon 1795-1750 BC) there is an explanation from the Encyclopedia Britannica and a translation by historian L.W. King that has 282 Laws of Justice.


Metropolitan Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Both these museums have extensive collections of Islamic art available online. At the Met, students can create their own "My Met Gallery" of selected works. After entering the search term "Islamic," they can view a timeline and select time period and location of Islamic art. Both sites provide enlargement of the pictures



Arab Culture and Civilization

National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) developed this site to promote understanding of the Arab world. The many thematic articles describe Islam and the Arab culture. The section "Ethnicity and Identity" explains the difference between being Arab and Muslim plus the Kurdish subgroup. The section "Popular Culture and Performing Arts" has video clips with sound.


CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations)

An organization to "promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims" produces a website with news and information for Muslims in the United States. Of interest to students is a question/answer explanation of Islamic beliefs.


Iran Chamber Society

This site features the history and culture of Iran with links to pictures of cities and short descriptions of historic people. "Headline News" links to news articles from throughout the world, although you can select to read in English. There is a link to the Old Persian Cuneiform including the alphabet and downloadable font. An entire section describes the Iranian wedding ceremony.


Iran Daily

English-language Iranian newspaper product of the reformers.


Tehran Times

English-language Iranian newspaper reflects conservative view.


U.S. Department of State

Under "Regions," select "Middle East and North Africa" to read articles that include fact sheets, as well as summaries and full-text of speeches (such as First Lady Laura Bush's speech in Jordan.)


World Fact Book

Select "World Fact Book" and then a country. The Central Intelligence Agency maintains this site with up-to-date political information as well as geographic, demographic and economic information.



Created by Frances Nadeau,  October 2005



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