The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East

by Naomi Shihab Nye

In 1998, Naomi Shihab Nye brought the voices of men and women from 19 Middle Eastern... read more

In 1998, Naomi Shihab Nye brought the voices of men and women from 19 Middle Eastern countries to young adult readers in the United States in The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems and Paintings from the Middle East (Simon & Schuster). The Flag of Childhood is a gathering of selected poems from that volume published in response to the events of September 11, 2001. In her introduction, Nye writes that people keep saying “everything has changed.” She responds: “I would like to think that nothing has changed...our need to know one another and to care about other people’s lives...our ability to grow in our perceptions, to know more than we used to know, to empathize with distant situations and sorrows and joys...the power of words to convey truths, across miles and water and time.” Over 50 poems in this paperback collection do indeed convey truths, imbedded in the perspectives of the individual writers whose unique experiences translate into feelings older children, teens, and adults can surely all recognize in one way or another: hopes, dreams, anger, fear, desire, and the need for dignity. These writers are not just citizens of nations far away, but citizens of the world we all share. Nye writes: “We must remember that the one flag we all share is the beautiful flag of childhood that flies with hope in every country.” (Age 11 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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