I love that this book of poetry turns people (who are so often reduced to statistics in the news) into real, living human beings that readers will empathize with, whatever their cultural background. The poems are written in free verse with extremely effective sensory imagery. The language is informal and personal, simple, accessible and evocative. I think that teens (or older readers, for that matter) will find that they will feel differently when they hear news of the Middle East after reading this book.
Nye imagines her grandmother (long dead) telling her, in the wake of September 11th, as the news media presents such negative images of Muslim culture: "Say this is not who we are." And Nye does say it, beautifully.
Awards: ALA Notable Book, 2003; ALA Best Book for Young Adults, 2003; National Book Award Honor Book, 2002; YALSA Ten Best Book for Young Adults, 2003
19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shiab Nye (Greenwillow Books, 2002)