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Rhody Radio episode transcription has been been made possible by the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries, which is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

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Palestinian Joy and Identity

Tayla: You're listening to Rhody Radio, Rhode Island Library Radio Online.

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Tayla: I'm Tayla, branch librarian at the Oak Lawn Branch of the Cranston Public Library and host of our weekly podcast Down Time to Cranston Public Library. My pronouns are she, her. This week, we're sharing an excerpt from our recent episode in which guest host Robin talked with Nora Lester Murad, author of Ida in the Middle, and Susan Muaddi Darraj, author of Farah Rocks Fifth Grade, about their books, writing authentic portrayals of Palestinian life and joy, and why representation in media is so important for everyone.

You'll also hear our regular segment, the last chapter, where we discussed a library or bookish-related question. This week, we answered the question, do you have a memory of a book you were required to read over the summer, and why has that title stayed with you? Enjoy.

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Robin: I'm your guest host, Robin. I'm the branch librarian at the William Hall Library. My pronouns are she, her.

Nora: Hi, my name is Nora Lester Murad. My pronouns are she, her, hers. I'm calling in from Newton, Massachusetts which is the unceded land of the Eastern Woodland peoples.

Susan: My name is Susan Muaddi Darraj. My pronouns are she, her. I'm calling in from Baltimore, Maryland.

Robin: Thank you both. Shall we get right into these beautiful books?

Nora: Sure.

Susan: Sure, let's do it.

Robin: One thing I noticed is that, on Nora's book, Susan blurbed it, and there's a quote on the back here. This, Nora, is your first work of fiction for young adults, right?

Nora: That is true. Although, the first book I ever wrote, which is really a art poem gift book, it's a [00:02:00] square hardback poetic story of an olive tree, telling about her own experience of being uprooted. It's illustrated with fine art by Palestinian artists from all over the world. That book is not a children's book or a YA book, but kids seem to really like it I think because the words are few and the art is gorgeous. Even though it's not a children's book, the kids liked that one, too.

Robin: Sounds interesting. What was it that made you decide to create Ida as a character and write her story?

Nora: Well, I wrote the story for one reason, and then I published it for a completely different reason. I wrote the story many years ago when my 23-year old middle daughter, who we now call Jazzy in the middle, was in sixth grade. It was inspired by her, but I wrote it to see if I could get my kids' attention. They were just so obsessed with Percy Jackson and of course Harry Potter and other exciting books. I can hardly get them to pay any attention to me.

I said, "Let me see if I can do what these amazing authors are doing." I wrote the book for my own daughter, and then it was unpublished for-- I don't know how long ago that was, 15 years or something, 10 years. When I published it, which was just last year, I did it because, after raising my children in the West Bank under Israeli occupation, we came back to the United States in 2017 and my youngest daughter had the experience of being a Palestinian in school in the United States. [00:04:00]

That was shocking for me and for her to appreciate how much, not only just ignorance there is about Palestine and Palestinian people, but also racism and fear. At that point, I asked myself is there some way this book that I've already written can be a tool and of service especially to teachers. I know a lot of young people get their reading recommendations from teachers, so I was really interested in teachers and librarians. I had many of them beta read the book.

I was able, in the process of editing, to first of all, age the protagonist from sixth grade, how she was written, to eighth grade, and that opened up a whole new level of experience. I was also able to integrate a lot of stories I heard from Palestinian teenagers about their experiences in school. I published it for Palestinian kids to be able to see themselves, and also for non-Palestinian kids to be able to have a window into what their age mates in Palestine live through.

I also published it for teachers and librarians, who understand that, if you really want to serve kids, they need to have information and analysis from many perspectives. They need to hear from people about their own experience, and that they're doing it to serve as not only to Palestinian kids by censoring stories about Palestine, but to non-Palestinian kids, who grow up without an accurate and a nuanced understanding of people who maybe their neighbors [00:06:00] or their friends or their co-workers.

Robin: Wow, that's really interesting story of how your book came to be written and published. Can I ask what your kids' reaction was to your fiction? Your book that you wrote when it was first written?

Nora: They really encouraged me.

Robin: Nice.

Nora: I have the greatest daughters. They're so encouraging and always supporting me and giving me ideas. They've all read it many, many times. They'd edit it, they gave me ideas, and they've also shared the book among their own friends, so I'm very lucky.

Susan: Excellent.

Robin: Now, did you and Susan connect because of the book, or had you known each other?

Nora: I connected to Susan because she's famous.

[laughter]

Nora: I wanted to know her, so I was like, "I want to know you. I want to touch you, I want to be near you."

Susan: [chuckles] I'm not famous at all, but I'll tell you, as a person who grew up as a Palestinian American in this country, I really wish I've had this book as a kid. I was sent the book by Nora's publisher, and I was like, "A YA book about Palestinian-American kids? Are you kidding me? Yes, I'll blurb this book." I read it I think in just a couple of days, I was so happy to read in. It's a brilliant book. It's exactly what kids need to read, Palestinians and non-Palestinian kids.

I really wish I'd had a book like that, because it is very isolating to grow up. I was born in the '70s and grew up in Philadelphia. It's extremely isolating to grow up as a Palestinian American. We're the only people that can't look at a map and point out where our country is on the map. It's a strange experience. I'm so glad your book is in the world, Nora.

Nora: Well, I'm so glad that you're books are in the world, because Susan rocks.

[chuckles]

Nora: Her books are called Farah Rocks, but I think you rock, Susan. I love your books, too, because they-- [00:08:00] You know there's something in the Palestinian community called normalization, it's a bad thing. It's when oppression becomes normal and accepted and excused, but I think there's a good kind of normalization, too, which is what I think your books do, Susan. They just are a normal kid, who's Palestinian, who eats Palestinian food and talks to her grandmother and learns her stories.

I loved that, because it's important over all that people understand the role that the loss of Palestine and the ongoing colonization of Palestine has in the lives of Palestinians, including Palestinian kids, but that's not the totality of Palestinians. Palestinians are also human beings that have nothing to do with conflict or war or oppression. They're just kids who get sunburns and fall in love and are embarrassed and all kinds of stuff. I love your books.

Robin: Susan, tell me a little bit more about what inspired you to get started writing about this little girl, Farah.

Susan: In Arabic, we say Farah, but [inaudible 00:09:17] pronounce it Farah. Actually, the story comes back to my own daughter. When she became an avid reader, I had a hard time finding books for her. I had had a hard time finding books with, not only Palestinian characters, but Arab characters in them. The only mainstream Arab characters you find are terribly stereotyped, like in Disney movies and such.

I had a very hard time finding really solid, authentic representations in books for my daughter. Naomi Shihab Nye, the poet, has a beautiful book called Habibi which is a beautiful book. [00:10:00]

Robin: I've seen that.

Susan: It was really the only one that I found. That book came out when I was in college. My daughter read it, and she enjoyed it. I couldn't find any others. Certainly, now she has Nora's book. I think she was about 10 or so when I decided to write a book for her and my agent. I showed it to my agent. I usually write adult fiction, but I showed it to my agent.

He was like, "This is pretty good. Do you want to try to do a series of these books?" I was like, "Yes, because I love book series." I grew up reading The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High and The Hardy Boys and all that stuff. Encyclopedia Brown was my jam for-

Robin: That's nice.

Susan: -when I was really little. I said, "I would love to write a chapter book series." He advised me to write a second one to demonstrate that I could carry this character and her family into a second adventure. I did, and then we sold it as a four-book deal to Capstone Books, which has, I think, done a really good job with the book.

Like Nora was saying, to me, it's very important to represent Palestinian characters who are not in crisis. That's where I make my place in the spectrum, the very short spectrum of Arab-American writers right now. The reason is that I think it's important to have those stories, but it's also important for kids to see themselves in books living healthy, normal lives.

There was a great op-ed in The New York Times several years ago about literature for Black children. The author that the op-ed was called Black Kids Are Tired of Reading of Harriet Tubman. It's about the fact that the very small offering of books about African-American people by African-American writers or by non-African-American writers, a lot of those books have to do with slavery or [00:12:00] the civil rights movement.

You see characters who are being oppressed or who are in crisis. Those stories are, of course, very important, but we also need a body of literature where children can see themselves in healthy ways.

Robin: Yes, just everyday life.

Susan: Everyday life. That's very important for children from that community and children who are not. We need to see books about LGBTQ characters who are not being attacked for being LGBTQ, where everyone in their society understands who they are and accepts them for who they are. We need those books. That was my take.

Farah means joy in Arabic. I deliberately wrote her to be a joyful character. She's not sad. Her being Palestinian is not something that could conflict or crisis the way it caused me when I was growing up. It's a joyful part of her identity. That's how I wrote that character.

Robin: Yes, that's great. I mentioned to Nora before we got started that I started out as a children's librarian, and that was in 2002. Right away, I noticed there wasn't a big variety of books that would represent the folks who were coming into the library where I worked at the time, which were people who didn't look like me. I am a middle-aged now white woman, and I realized that we didn't have any books with brown or black faces. That was a start.

I think that, from what I see now, I don't work directly in services, but I still do look at the literature. I know progress has been made. Then every time I see a book that represents a different culture that most Americans know nothing about, then it makes me happy to have that out there for people to read and just to have a story that [00:14:00] they can pick up off the shelf, which is factually based, like Nora's book, and then somebody who's going to visit her grandmother, for example.

That could be anybody's grandmother who likes to make different food and stuff than what you'd make at home. It doesn't matter what the background is. I got a kick out of that. It's great.

Susan: I'm glad that you did that. There's a study every couple of years of the books that comes from the Cooperative Children's Book Center. I'm sure you're familiar with it. They track the number of books published every year about children from different communities, Native American, Asian American, Latinx, African American. The numbers every year are becoming more and more reflective of our demographics in this country.

For the first time, the last time they did the study, I think it was last year, there's a category for Arab-American children, which is the first time I've seen that. It's still very small. It's like 0.04% or something like that. I think two of the books were by me, but I do think that we're seeing these numbers grow. As Nora said earlier, it's important not just for children from these communities to see these books, but it's important for their classmates to see these books.

For children, they get a lot of their information about the world from the books in their classroom. We still are a book-centered educational system. Something is more real to children if they see it in a book, so if they see a Black family in a book having dinner together and talking about X, Y, and Z, this is a normal thing now, right? This is not something unusual. If they see an LGBTQ character talking to their mom or something, this becomes normal for them. It's very important to reach them in this way.

Robin: I agree. As an adult reader, I want to read about different cultures, and I don't always want it to [00:16:00] be because something bad is happening. I want there to be a character who falls in love and a romcom, but the person is Palestinian American, for example. There's your next challenge.

Nora: There's a lot of challenges. I was going to comment that in this non-statistically valid study that we did, for which I read 52 books, but it was from a population of, I think, 123 or 140 books eventually. What was really shocking to me was a very high percentage of the books by Palestinian authors were self-published, 40% of the books that we identified.

Now, from non-Palestinean authors, there were more traditionally published books, but the ones by Palestinian authors, like the book I mentioned earlier, Salim's Soccer Ball, 40% of them were self-published. That's a shocking statistic. Then I'd go even further and say, of the non-fiction books that involve Palestine, I say involved because books about Israel also involve Palestine, so when we're looking at a book, for example, I wrote an article about a book called Travel to Israel with Sesame Street. I wrote a whole article about this book because it is a problematic book.

When we're talking about Palestine, we also have to look at books that are about Israel because they are the same place. 20% of Israeli citizens are Palestinian, and 50% of the people under Israeli control are Palestinian, 50%. That includes the West Bank and Gaza and the Golan, Syrian Golan Heights.

When I looked at the non-fiction books, now non-fiction for kids, at least when I was a kid, told me this is the truth, these are facts, this is not made up. This is not a story. The non-fiction books about [00:18:00] Palestine or Palestinians by Palestinians? Zero.

Robin: Wow.

Nora: There is one coming out. It's just been announced by Reem Kassis, called We Are Palestinian. I've gotten a peek at the ark, and it's very exciting to have a Palestinian talk about Palestine and Palestinians in a non-fiction book. But just the fact that it's so rare, I might have missed one or two. I'm not saying that I have the ultimate facts on this, but there are many, many more books written about Palestinians by non-Palestinians than there are by Palestinians themselves. That's, I think, really important to note.

Susan: There's a lot of censorship in the publishing industry, and it's a lot of soft censorship, which is why a lot of authors turn to self-publishing. You see this every day. Just the other day, there was a big story about the author, Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Her book is forthcoming from Scholastic. Actually, I don't think it's forthcoming after all, but it's about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

She had an author's note in there about how this was a racist practice, and it's still something we see in our society today. I thought there was nothing untruthful about her author's statement, but scholastic wanted her to cut that statement. Publishing her book was contingent upon her cutting that statement. There's several news stories about it.

This is an attempt to censor an author about something that happened in this country's history that is extremely racist. The only word for that is censorship, right? There's a lot of that that happens in ways, and [00:20:00] now the author, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, I think, was very brave in talking about that story openly. This happens a lot without the rest of us knowing about it. I think that's why I see a lot of people turning to self-publishing. Hopefully, that will change. As the industry changes and becomes itself more inclusive, Ithink we'll see that trend changing too.

Nora: I really agree with you and I did write an article in Betsy Bird's blog on School Library Journal about the levels of censorship. Because we think sometimes that a person goes into a library and says, "Take this book off the shelf. I want this book banned." That is a real important and absolutely critical kind of censorship that we need to address. There are so many levels, as you were saying, Susan, before the book even gets published.

Can an author get an agent? Sometimes the agent will ask for revisions where things are softened or made less controversial. If they get an agent, can the agent sell the book? Again, another round of, "Oh, this might be uncomfortable for some people, or you might have trouble marketing this." Then it gets published, hopefully, and you've got the whole other round of reviews.

Do you get in Kirkus? Do you get in School Library Journal? If you didn't, you never know why, you don't know. Was it but because my book was about Palestine, or was it just because a lot of books don't get reviewed in Kirkus or School Library Journal? Then once the reviews out, you have other layers of censorship. I think that's very much a current problem for Palestinian authors.

Robin: Those are some interesting things to point out because, as librarians, we like to have a [00:22:00] collection that reflects our communities, and the only way we'll be able to do that is if these books do get published and then the process of getting published must be really challenging. You've both been through it.

Susan: Yes, it's a lot. I always tell my students and people who are-- I talk a lot to people who are working on writing and trying to get published, and I tell them just be okay with editing, be okay with [unintelligible]. I rewrote Farrah Rocks seven times because, again, I'm used to writing fiction for adults, and here I am writing fiction for young people. I think I did a pretty good job of it.

I read tons of books for young people, but I had missed the mark in many ways with reaching my audience, and so the editor at Capstone, her name is Eliza Leahy, she really helped me a lot to work on that book. It was a little bit humbling for me to have just sold a four-book deal, but to still be revising the book that I had just sold. As I said, I revised it seven times, but we wanted to get it right.

That's just one part of the process. You constantly work to make it better. That's just a small piece. Even after you get an agent, even after you sell a book, there's still work to be done.

Robin: You mentioned your students, you teach at the college level?

Susan: I do.

Robin: That must be a really great thing to point out when you give them back paper that needs to be edited, then you can say, "This needed to be rewritten seven times before it got published."

Susan: Right. If they complain, I tell them, I have no sympathy for them because this is just-- writing is about rewriting. That's what it is. [00:24:00] I think it's nice for them to see that the stuff I'm talking to them about is stuff I'm putting into practice in my own career.

Robin: Have you had more fun writing the young reader series or because it's a little lighter than your novel for adult readers or?

Susan: I mean, I'm sort of using a different part of my brain and a different part of my heart when I'm writing for different age groups. What I actually have found is that, when I'm writing these books, the books for young readers, one thing I had to learn was not to underestimate my readers. I thought I could keep it pretty light the whole time, but there are some references to--

I'm a writer who really writes a lot about social class, socioeconomic class and my character and her family are really on the edge financially. They're on the precipice financially. She knows that. Farah knows that and like any child who grows up in a working-class family, they are very well aware of money problems in the family. They can feel when the parents are stressed about money or when the bills come in.

I did write that into the whole series that she's very well aware of the family's financial problems. I had to use a different part of my heart when I was writing that for kids but I've had a lot of feedback from kids who connect to that.

Robin: I'll bet. I think that's great.

Susan: They know when the school trip money is due. They know whether or not it's a good time to ask mom and dad for that $30 to go on a school trip. They're aware of those things. I'm glad that I'm not only reaching maybe Palestinian-American kids, but I'm reaching kids who are from working-class families.

Robin: Yes. That's so important.

Susan: Thank you.

Robin: Were you happy with the illustrations?

Susan: I was. [00:26:00] I was going to say something about illustrations. I don't know if Nora has thoughts about it too, but for me-- so my series is the first chapter book series to feature a Palestinian or an Arab-American character across a series. I was really scared about how they were going to illustrate her. If anyone out there is interested in writing for children, usually, you sell a publisher your text. The publisher will often find you an illustrator. You don't have to usually find your own illustrator. You're selling just the text.

I was aware that they would find an illustrator to illustrate the book, and my agent wrote it into the contract that I would have some kind of say over how she looks. Again, I'm a kid who grew up watching the first Disney Aladdin movie, and I saw how Arabs are drawn. I had this feeling that like, maybe somebody would have very good intentions and try to draw her in a way that was just completely inaccurate. The way she looks was very important to me.

My publisher, I'm so grateful, were very, very receptive. They even showed me different portfolios of illustrators that they could hire. We found Ruaida Mannaawho is a Colombian Arab artist. She's from Columbia. She's Arab, grew up in Columbia, in the country of Columbia, and boy, she does a great job with her. I'm thrilled with how she looks. I'm thrilled with the depiction of my character.

Robin: Excellent. It's nice to hear.

Susan: It's a funny thing to write a character and then hand her over to somebody else and have them give you a physical illustration of how she looks in your head. That was a really interesting back-and-forth process between Reida and myself to get her to the way that she looks in my mind.

Robin: Wow. That's really interesting. I love that you shared that with us because I think that people are always [00:28:00] interested in how books get illustrated. As a librarian, I know that they were two separate things, the writing and the illustrating, but I'm glad that you were able to have some input into this character. On the cover of this book, she's got some beautiful long hair that looks like yours.

Susan: Yes. Well, we originally had her with her hair braided and then in a bandana. One thing you'll notice in all the illustrations of her-- my character is a rock collector. She loves to collect rocks, and she loves to pick up things like leaves and acorns, and that's totally me. My kids laugh at me at how my pockets are always filled with little treasures from nature.

In every illustration, she has pockets in her clothing. Even if she's wearing a dress or a skirt, she has pockets because Her pockets are always filled with rocks and things like that. That's another way that she looks like me, but yes, her hair definitely, I think, looks like my hair.

Robin: That's great. Nora, did you have anything else that you wanted people to know about Ida in the Middle, your novel for young readers that was published in 2022?

Nora: What to know about it? I'm very sympathetic, extremely sympathetic to teachers, librarians who have difficulty bringing anything about Palestine into a classroom or a library because it's considered, I'm putting in air quotes, "controversial." It's important to me to provide as much scaffolding and resources to teachers and librarians as possible.

On the book's website, which is just idainthemiddle.com, I-D-A, idainthemiddle.com, there's a teaching resources section that has, first of all, [00:30:00] responses to the different questions or concerns that teachers raised with me when I interviewed teachers across the country. Teacher would say, "I don't have time," and I addressed that on my Teaching Resources page, or "I don't know enough about it, so I can't teach it," I address that on my teaching resources page. There's that section which is almost like a Q&A if you will, but there's other resources as well.

One of the things teachers said was there aren't enough teaching materials and that they don't know which ones are good. I created a spreadsheet, and then I curated materials that I think are good. I left the bad ones off or the ones that were too old or redundant. Lesson plans, portals, films, activities, I put them in a spreadsheet which is embedded on the teaching resources page of my website so that teachers can go and look and see what is available for their own background information as well as information they can provide to students at all different ages.

But that was not enough. Then I commissioned a curriculum for my book. The curriculum is done, but it's not on the website yet. It will be there any moment now because-

Robin: Excellent.

Nora: -it's in graphic design. It's a six to eight-week curriculum for sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth grade, so a teacher can modify it a little up or a little down or a little right or a little left as needed for different subjects that they may be teaching. It's intended for ELA and social studies, but someone who might be doing history or government, the activities in it or the lessons which build on the book chapter by chapter can also be taught separately from the book. If you want an activity about Palestinian joy, there is an activity [00:32:00] about Palestinian joy in the curricula.

Robin: I'm sure we'll put up your website. Maybe by the time this episode airs, the information will be on there, but I think that that's great information for people to have since we know that it's all about getting the book out there, getting it promoted.

Susan: I just want to say thank you to Nora, by the way, for that curriculum that you're putting together. When I visit schools and libraries, a lot of times people ask me for information about that, and I'm so excited to be able to share that with them. That's such important work.

Robin: We usually wrap up the show with a segment called the Last Chapter. We talk about a library or bookish-related question. Based on the fact that it got so warm and nice last week, I started thinking ahead to summer reading. Do you have a memory of a book that you were required to read over the summer that you remember for various reasons, or is there a book that you did read over the summer that has stayed with you ever since then?

I, for example, remember the summer before my senior year in high school, and we were required to take home The Western Civilization textbook to read through, which was thinking back on it, like what a thing to do. I had this big textbook with me in the summer and glanced at it from time to time, even though I love to read. [chuckles] That was a bad summer reading assignment.

Susan: For me, in terms of summer reading, I had to read Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy, One Summer, Tess of the D'Urbervilles. I love classic literature as much as I love modern literature. I think that's where I just became a big Jane Austen fan and a Thomas Hardy fan. Tess of the D'Urbervilles is an amazing book.

Pride and Prejudice, still one of the best. That's even before I saw the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. Okay? [00:34:00] Even before Colin Firth was Mr. Darcy, I loved Pride and Prejudice. I remember spending one summer being delighted by this book, and I couldn't wait to come back and talk about it. Not everyone shared my love of it, but [laughs] yes.

Robin: That's fantastic. I love hearing stories like that. How about you, Nora?

Nora: If you knew me better, you wouldn't ask me a question about memory because I have problems with my memory. I have no idea. Can not remember for the life of me what I would have read when I was a child. If summer is the theme, then I'll mention a book I've been reading since last summer because I'm sticking with it. It's brilliant and fantastic, but is also a little bit of a heavy lift for me.

I recommend it highly. It's called When We Were Arabs, A Jewish Family's Forgotten History, and it's by Massoud Hayoun, who I was in a webinar with. I wasn't in the webinar. I watched him in a webinar, and he just gave off these vibes of being such a loving and lovely person. I might be projecting that upon him. This book is important, and it's not that it's hard to read, it turns your mind a little bit.

What Massoud is saying by telling his own family's history as a Jewish family in the Arab world with both Egyptian and Tunisian roots is that both Arabness and Jewishness are social constructs as we know race is, and he looks at how his family and other Jewish Arab families were constructed in different places in different times in the Arab world.

I think it's such [00:36:00] an important book because I know in my life I spend a lot of time as a Jew myself, who's married to a Palestinian Muslim by the way, trying to distinguish between Judaism and Israel. The Judaism being a religion a people, a history, and Israel being a state of 75 years old, that as far as I'm concerned, we can criticize and hate even just like we might criticize or hate any other state without it being anti-Semitic.

I think this book comes at that issue from a different point of view by really showing historically that Jews in some places at some times were Arab and completely integrated into the societies, into the diverse societies in which they lived. I think it's a really important book, and I just jumped on your summer theme because it is true. I've been reading it since last summer, not because it's not brilliant, it's just because I take it 10 or 15 pages at a time and I think. I really think about it, and think, "Wow, this is important."

Susan: I actually met him also on an event that he and I did together when the book came out in 2020 during the pandemic, everything was on Zoom. I had that same impression of him. He's just an amazing, wonderful person, so I wanted to just add that. I read the book, and it's brilliant. I agree with that.

Nora: Yes.

Robin: Great. We'll have the title and the author in the show notes along with all the other books that we've mentioned and websites and all that good stuff. Taylor and Dave do a good job of putting that together, so that's always there. Just before we sign off, I just want you each to mention where we can find you online and where we can buy your books and all that good stuff. How about if I start with Susan first?

Susan: Sure. My website is Susanmd [00:38:00] books, Susanmd, M as in Michael, D as in David, susanmdbooks.com. I'm also on social media quite a bit at Susan Darraj, D-A-R-R-A-J on Twitter and Instagram.

Nora: I have a main blog where I blog about lots of social justice issues, including but not only Palestine, and that's noralestermurad.com. My full name N-O-R-A L-E-S-T-E-R M-U-R-A-D.com. From there, you can get to the websites of each of my books, Rest in My Shade. I found myself in Palestine and my YA book, Ida in the Middle. From the Ida in the Middle site, you can get to the teaching resources.

From all of those, you can find me on Twitter, on Instagram, on YouTube, and on TikTok. But I do not answer comments on TikTok because they are not nice.

Robin: Okay. Well, I want to thank you both for joining me and thank you, everyone, for listening.

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Tayla: Thanks for listening. For the full episode, including our book and movie suggestions, search for Down Time with Cranston Public Library in your podcast player and learn more about our show at cranstonlibrary.org/downtime. Rhody Radio is proud to be a resident partner of the Rhode Island Center for the book and brought to you by library staff and community members all around the ocean state.

This episode is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders.

You can find more from Rhody Radio on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you enjoyed today's episode, subscribe to Rhody Radio and rate or review us on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to help [00:40:00] us reach more Rhode Islanders. Thanks again for listening.

[music]

[00:40:16] [END OF AUDIO]


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