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April is Arab American Heritage Month

I have learned a lot about myself in quarantine these past two weeks.

For instance, I am capable of eating frozen pizza five days in a row.

I am very bad at puzzles and should never attempt them.

And I really do enjoy spending time with my family, something I wish I did more of when the world wasn’t at a standstill. 

After watching me eat my weight in Home Run cheese pizza, my mom finally had enough.

I don’t cook at all (I accidentally melted a spatula while frying eggs once), but I really want to learn.

So one day I decided to watch my mom make bazella and riz, a traditional Lebanese stew with peas and rice.

Of course she made it look effortless and easy, but she’s been cooking up Middle Eastern food since before I was born.

Don’t let the pale skin and natural red hair fool you. I am 100% Arab and I am so proud of where I come from.

I am mainly Palastinian and Lebanese, and I hate how my identity gets erased because I don’t fit the majority’s idea of what Arabs look like.

One goal I have is to spread awareness and shed light on something many people may not be familiar with.

Yes, April is the month of National Hug Your Dog Day, but it’s also Arab American Heritage Month.

This is actually something fairly recent that started in 2017.

An organization called Arab America formed a national advisory committee and asked U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell to issue a congressional resolution proclaiming National Arab American Heritage Month.

However, it wasn’t until 2019 that 26 states across the country issued 109 proclamations that formally recognized this initiative. 

Arab Americans have made numerous contributions that have greatly enhanced our society.

One example is through compelling storytelling.

Below you can find a list captivating titles (all available as ebooks) from talented Arab American authors.

Enjoy exploring these powerful stories, and don’t forget to hug your dog this April. 


The Exorcist

by William Peter Blatty

Yes, one of the most iconic horror stories of all time that produced an equally iconic movie was written by the son of Lebanese immigrants. Lots of demonic possession, not for the faint of heart. 


The Woman Upstairs

by Claire Messud

Nora, a bored and struggling artist, is drawn into the complex world of a glamorous immigrant family.


The Moor’s Account

by Laila Lalami

A fictional memoir of Estebanico, the Moroccan slave who survived the Narvaez expedition starting in 1527.


In the Country of Men

by Hisham Matar

A harrowing depiction of a nine-year-old child who is confronted with the effects of the Libyan Revolution of 1969.


House of Stone

by Anthony Shadid

A stunning memoir that details Anthony Shadid's return to and rebuilding of his family's home in Southern Lebanon. 


An Unnecessary Woman

by Rabih Alameddine

Aaliya Saleh, a reclusive 72-year-old woman, recounts a past that was shaped by the Lebanese Civil War while coming to terms with a late-life crisis.

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