The Turtle of Oman


The Turtle of Oman


The Turtle of Oman

Naomi Shihab Nye

Publication Date: 05/06/2016
Themes: Middle Eastern Cultures, Immigration & Emmigration, Multigenerational
Age: 8-12 years old
Pages: 320 pages


This accessible, exquisite novel shines with gentle humor and explores themes of moving, family, nature, and immigration. It tells the story of Aref Al-Amri, who must say good-bye to everything and everyone he loves in his hometown of Muscat, Oman, as his family prepares to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is acclaimed poet and National Book Award Finalist Naomi Shihab Nye's first novel set in the Middle East since her acclaimed Habibi.

Here are some things Aref loves about his home.

Mish-Mish, his cat
The dunes in the desert
His friends Diram and Sulima
Fresh apricots
Crispy fish served in baskets
His grandfather, Sidi
His excellent rock collection
The turtles of Oman

Aref does not want to move to Michigan. He's sure the kids there won't like him. Also, he has everything he needs right where he is! But Sidi has another point of view. Sidi says Aref will go and come back. Just like a falcon or the turtles of Oman, he'll travel far and make his way home to Muscat.

So Aref sets out to say good-bye to everything he loves. Good-bye to Mish-Mish, Diram, Sulima, dunes, Sidi . . . But how can he stand it?




“Nye’s story about the special bond between a boy and his grandfather and their mutual love for their country is somehow both quiet and exhilarating.” (Horn Book (starred review))

“A warm and humorous peek at the profound and mundane details of moving from one country to another—a perfect pick for kids on the move.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Magical . . .Will deeply touch young readers who have also moved between countries—and it will enlighten their new friends.” (Booklist)

“Nye’s elegant but accessible tale—a love letter to Oman, a touching portrayal of a boy and his grandfather, and a poignant look at how we experience change—is deeply moving.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

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