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The Turtle of Oman

A Novel

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About the Book

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.

Aref Al-Amri does not want to leave Oman. He does not want to leave his elementary school, his friends, or his beloved grandfather, Siddi. He does not want to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents will go to graduate school. His mother is desperate for him to pack his suitcase, but he refuses. Finally, she calls Siddi for help. But rather than pack, Aref and Siddi go on a series of adventures. They visit the camp of a thousand stars deep in the desert, they sleep on Siddi's roof, they fish in the Gulf of Oman and dream about going to India, and they travel to the nature reserve to watch the sea turtles. At each stop, Siddi finds a small stone that he later slips into Aref's suitcase—mementos of home.

Naomi Shihab Nye's warmth, attention to detail, and belief in the power of empathy and connection shines from every page. Features black-and-white spot art and decorations by Betsy Peterschmidt.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“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

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062019721
  • ISBN 10: 0062019724
  • Imprint: Greenwillow Books
  • On Sale: 08/26/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • List Price: 21.00 CAD
  • Ages: 8 to 12
  • BISAC1: JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Emigration & Immigration
  • BISAC2: JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Multigenerational
  • BISAC3: JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / New Experience

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

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