The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East: Young Readers' Edition
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East: Young Readers' Edition

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Annotation: "In 1967, a twenty-five-year-old refugee named Bashir Khairi traveled from the Palestinian hill town of Ramallah to Ramla, Israel, with a goal: to see the beloved stone house with the lemon tree in its backyard that he and his family had been forced to leave nineteen years earlier. When he arrived, he was greeted by one of its new residents: Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student whose family had fled Europe following the Holocaust. She had lived in that house since she was eleven months old. On the stoop of this shared house, Dalia and Bashir began a surprising friendship."¬
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #216732
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 196 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-547-60394-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8076-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-547-60394-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8076-6
Dewey: 920
LCCN: 2020020277
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
This young readers' adaptation of the 2006 original details the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspective of two families who both lay claim to one small stone house in Ramela and the lemon tree in its garden. Built in 1936, the house was abandoned by the Arab Khairi family, who was forced to flee in 1948, despite the land being promised to Arabs by the UN Partition. Bulgarian Jewish refugees, the Eshkenazis, moved into the house that same year. Recounted through the eyes of Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi (who became acquainted as young adults and maintained a dialogue for many years), Tolan presents both perspectives regarding the land claim and is persuasive in detailing the wrongs perpetrated against Palestinian families who were expelled from their homes, refused basic human rights, and denied the right to return to their homeland. Tolan appends this edition with an afterword detailing the pair's recent lack of communication, surely a metaphor for the larger stalemate in this area. With generous back matter, this offers an enlightening look at a complicated problem.
Kirkus Reviews
The true story of a friendship between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Arab that transcends political tensions and violence.It is 1967. Three Palestinian men—Bashir Khairi and his cousins Yasser and Ghiath—are on a journey from Ramallah to see their childhood homes in al-Ramla. Yasser is turned away; Ghiath’s is now a school. Bashir knows whether he may enter his old home depends on who answers the door. Dalia Eshkenazi, who has wondered “why would anyone voluntarily leave such a beautiful house,” welcomes them despite misgivings, “sens[ing] a vulnerability in these young men [that makes her feel] safe.” Dalia and her family, Holocaust survivors, had moved from Bulgaria to Palestine when she was just a baby. Welcoming the three men into her home opens the door to a connection, a bond between the Khairis and Eshkenazis, one that could represent hope and peace. The story unfolds in chapters that alternate between Dalia and Bashir along with chapters focusing on the histories of the land and of each family. In this young readers’ adaptation of his 2006 book for adults of the same name, Tolan seamlessly weaves in the modern history of Palestine/Israel—including dates, roles played by leaders, and details from both Bashir’s and Dalia’s experiences. The writing is rich, especially when describing the house—it and its lemon tree form the center of this moving story.Captivating and complicated. (maps, author’s note, sources) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The true story of a friendship between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Arab that transcends political tensions and violence.It is 1967. Three Palestinian men—Bashir Khairi and his cousins Yasser and Ghiath—are on a journey from Ramallah to see their childhood homes in al-Ramla. Yasser is turned away; Ghiath’s is now a school. Bashir knows whether he may enter his old home depends on who answers the door. Dalia Eshkenazi, who has wondered “why would anyone voluntarily leave such a beautiful house,” welcomes them despite misgivings, “sens[ing] a vulnerability in these young men [that makes her feel] safe.” Dalia and her family, Holocaust survivors, had moved from Bulgaria to Palestine when she was just a baby. Welcoming the three men into her home opens the door to a connection, a bond between the Khairis and Eshkenazis, one that could represent hope and peace. The story unfolds in chapters that alternate between Dalia and Bashir along with chapters focusing on the histories of the land and of each family. In this young readers’ adaptation of his 2006 book for adults of the same name, Tolan seamlessly weaves in the modern history of Palestine/Israel—including dates, roles played by leaders, and details from both Bashir’s and Dalia’s experiences. The writing is rich, especially when describing the house—it and its lemon tree form the center of this moving story.Captivating and complicated. (maps, author’s note, sources) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (9/1/20)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. [169]-190) and index.
Word Count: 43,244
Reading Level: 7.6
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.6 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 510590 / grade: Middle Grades+
Guided Reading Level: N

In 1967, a twenty-five-year-old refugee named Bashir Khairi traveled from the Palestinian hill town of Ramallah to Ramla, Israel, with a goal: to see the beloved stone house with the lemon tree in its backyard that he and his family had been forced to leave nineteen years earlier. When he arrived, he was greeted by one of its new residents: Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student whose family had fled Europe following the Holocaust. She had lived in that house since she was eleven months old. On the stoop of this shared house, Dalia and Bashir began a surprising friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and later tested as political tensions ran high and Israelis and Palestinians each asserted their own right to live on this land. Adapted from the award-winning adult book and based on Sandy Tolan's extensive research and reporting, The Lemon Tree is a deeply personal story of two people seeking hope, transformation, and home.


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