Ralph Nader, Khalil Gibran and Danny Thomas: What do they have in common?
They are Lebanese-Americans mentioned in this uneven compendium of facts and activities that explores the history of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. The title is misleading, as such groups as Chaldeans, Berbers and Sephardic Jews, among others, are included, even though they do not believe that they are Arab. Despite this, exposing American readers to the great religious and cultural diversity of these 16 countries and the Palestinian territories and their immigrants is a worthwhile endeavor. Unfortunately, the craft instructions, games, recipes, dance, language-learning and writing projects vary in the strength of their connection to “Arab” culture. For example, Palestinian-American writer Naomi Shihab Nye is featured, and the related activity focuses on her poem “Every Cat Has a Story,” which is tied to her writing about “everyday events and ordinary events”—not to her writing about the Middle East. “Design a National Safety Month Poster,” strangely, attempts to connect Ralph Nader to the legendary phoenix. The diagrams are useful, and some of the design elements are attractive, but the other illustrations are amateurish.
Professionals and parents can probably pull a few interesting activities and anecdotes from this book, but the individual parts do not add up to a cohesive whole.(resources, bibliography, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 8-11)