Sharing Our Homeland

By School Library Journal

The author provides very basic history and context for the Middle East conflict, always circling back to its effect on Alya’s and Yuval’s lives. She paints a compelling portrait of the camp, which combines familiar activities like swimming and crafts with more serious ones like a bomb-squad demo or field trips to Jewish and Arab communities. Quotes from interviews with the children, their families, and camp staff add life to the narrative. Large, clear, colorful photos create a “you are there” feeling. While the depiction of the two ethnicities is fairly evenhanded, the subtitle’s descriptors may trouble some adult readers. Why not “Arab” and “Jewish” or “Muslim” and “Jewish”? However, the editor has stated that the people at Peace Camp, all of whom are Israeli citizens, preferred to be identified this way. The lens of summer camp provides a positive introduction to a troubled region. The book’s hopeful tone may inspire readers to explore the topic further.