Book Reviews

Read Palestine Reads

So ending December 5th was the Read Palestine Week. While it took me longer than a week to finish these reads, I still wanted to include them here and I’ll tell you why it took me longer below. Find mini reviews of The Beauty of Your Face and They Called Me A Lioness.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Note about Squire

I just wanted to mention that for the last post in this series I did read Squire. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include a review for this since it was a re-read for me. However, when I was checking my blog I found out I didn’t post a review and instead put it in a collection post of graphic novels I read. For comprehensive sake, I’ve decided to mention it again here because I did re-read it specifically for the Reading is Resistance initiative and again in the context of Palestine. Check out the other post for my full thoughts.

The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah

A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter—radicalized by the online alt-right—attacks the school.

As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories: the bigotry she faced as a child, her mother’s dreams of returning to Palestine, and the devastating disappearance of her older sister that tore her family apart. Still, there is the sweetness of the music from her father’s oud, and the hope and community Afaf finally finds in Islam.


This Palestinian American story examines how one navigates and comes to know home. How we can be in our homes, but be alienated and dehumanized by the media, racism, and cruelty. For Afaf as she encounters an in school shooter at her school, she is brought back to her memories. To the past with the disappearance of her sister and that loss. Flipping to and from in time, The Beauty of Your Face feels like two stories connected by the echoes of one.

And while I loved the premise of this, in execution I felt that both threads suffered from this dual timeline. I wanted to spend more time with the past especially towards the end. To witness the echoes and waves that a loss, that a love, can cause. How people come into our lives and leave with or without answers. Additionally, there’s a perspective from the shooter which gave us a peek into the wounds inside and outside, the rot of hatred and power. But I found that it didn’t cohesively mesh as much as I wanted it to.

I think The Beauty of Your Face ended up biting up a bit too much and I felt the most compelling pieces of the past didn’t shine as much as they could have. That being said, for those pieces alone I’d have rated it higher so I would definitely still recommend you take a read for yourself. Find The Beauty of Your Face on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.

They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom by Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri

Ahed Tamimi is a world-renowned Palestinian activist, born and raised in the small West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, which became a center of the resistance to Israeli occupation when an illegal, Jewish-only settlement blocked off its community spring. Tamimi came of age participating in nonviolent demonstrations against this action and the occupation at large. Her global renown reached an apex in December 2017, when, at sixteen years old, she was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier who refused to leave her front yard. The video went viral, and Tamimi was arrested.

But this is not just a story of activism or imprisonment. It is the human-scale story of an occupation that has riveted the world and shaped global politics, from a girl who grew up in the middle of it . Tamimi’s father was born in 1967, the year that Israel began its occupation of the West Bank and he grew up immersed in the resistance movement. One of Tamimi’s earliest memories is visiting him in prison, poking her toddler fingers through the fence to touch his hand. She herself would spend her seventeenth birthday behind bars. Living through this greatest test and heightened attacks on her village, Tamimi felt her resolve only deepen, in tension with her attempts to live the normal life of a daughter, sibling, friend, and student.

An essential addition to an important conversation, They Called Me a Lioness shows us what is at stake in this struggle and offers a fresh vision for resistance. With their unflinching, riveting storytelling, Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri shine a light on the humanity not just in occupied Palestine but also in the unsung lives of people struggling for freedom around the world.


This has to be my favorite non-fiction memoir I’ve read in a long time. First of all, the audiobook is narrated by one of the co-writers which was so powerful. It begins immediately with history and combating the misinformation around us. I think specifically coming from a background of the United States whose allegiance I think is abundantly clear, the grounding of history is a solid foundation. Then the personal experiences from Ahed about her life in Palestine and the insidious and overt oppression is chilling.

I replayed sections over and over again to not only hear the facts, but also because of how moved I was while reading They Called Me A Lioness. The apartheid conditions, the way they control water, movement, electricity. It showcases the insidious misinformation and media away as well as the encroaching creeping occupation and violence. This is 100% worth a read and I’m buying a copy for everyone in my life. It is moving, emotional, and inspiring all at once. Find They Called Me A Lioness on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.


What did you read for Read Palestine?

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