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The Mystery of the Falcon’s Eye

Written by: Taghreed Najjar, Illustrated by: Ammar Khattab,

(1 customer review)


17-year-old Ziad who lives in Qalandia refugee camp finds himself the sole bread winner of his family after his activist father gets arrested and becomes an administrative prisoner. We first meet Ziad while he’s selling hot tea to a long line of people waiting in their cars to cross the checkpoint. Ziad lives with his great grandmother, mother, sister and younger brother. His great Grandma is senile and keeps repeating stories of the past but there is one story – in particular- that never changes. It is the story of the family’s lost gold left in their village – Lifta – when they were forced to flee during the war. Ziad makes it his mission to find this gold which takes him on a treacherous journey back to his ancestral village. An exciting and moving story full of action and suspense. It is also a story about what it means to be a refugee, living under occupation in a refugee camp generation after generation. It is a story about yearning to ‘return’ to the ancestral village his people were forced to leave and not allowed to return.

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Parent/Teacher Guide

An exciting novel of self discovery and coming of age set in the occupied Palestinian territories. The novel shows a microcosm view of Palestinian life and the difficulties they face on a dailybasis. In this action packed novel 17 year old Ziad succeeds in visiting his ancestral abandoned village “ Lifta” and reconnects with his roots while searching for the family goldThe “ Mystery of the Falcon’s Eye” is a story that has many levels. On one level it is an adventure action packed novel that also involves a treasure hunt and can be read as such.On a deeper level it can be read as a coming of age story and a search for roots. The protagonist Ziad lives in a refugee camp. His father is arrested and indefinetely detained by the Israeli authorities and without any trial. He is what is called an administrative detainee. Ziad finds himself the sole bread winner of his family. The “ Mystery of the Falcon’s Eye” is also a story about the Palestinian Nakba. About a people driven out of their villages and their homeland and not allowed to return. It is also about the yearning that is transmitted from generation to generation for this lost homeland. In this case it is the village of Lifta which is unique among the 400+ documented Palestinian villages that were emptied of their original inhabitants . Lifta has the distinction that it is the only village whose houses are still standing and have not been resettled by Jewish immigrants or turned into a tourist location or art colony.


Shorlisted for the Etisalat Children Literature Award 2014

Additional information
ISBN 9789957040796
Binding Soft cover
Pages 174
Age Range 12+
Year of Publication 2014
Weight 0.25 kg
Dimensions 15 × 5 × 21 cm

Reviews (1)

1 review for The Mystery of the Falcon’s Eye

  1. dayglowjoe

    This novel was wonderful, and as a student of the Arabic language, it was one of the first books I have read cover to cover in Arabic. The language style is sleek and swift, simple but not basic, and it reads incredibly well, even for someone new to Arabic. The plot is well paced, making it a real page turner. It brilliantly mixes an exciting and intriguing children’s adventure narrative against a more complex background of politics, the occupation, culture, heritage and identity, in a way that is educational without ever becoming too complicated or. It is a great way for both Palestinian and Arab children to connect with the pre-1948 heritage of Palestine, as well as educating children around the world about this issue in an emotionally engaging and moving way. The characters were warm and realistic and the author has painted a vivid and immersive portrait of the reality of daily life for Palestinians of many different backgrounds, both in the West Bank, and within the borders of Israel. It effortlessly deals with complex and important issues without sacrificing the fast paced plot, and also features informative footnotes giving expanded information about the real life locations and events mentioned in the story. A highly recommended book for children and adults alike!

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About the Author: Taghreed Najjar

"Taghreed Najjar is a pioneer of modern children's literature in Jordan. A graduate of the American University of Beirut,Taghreed started her career as a teacher before becoming a full time writer of picture books and young adult novels. Her YA novels have been celebrated widely by her readers and various schools in the region have adopted them as part of their curriculum. A number of her books have won awards while others have been translated into foreign languages like English, Swedish, Turkish, French and Chinese.  
One of her most critically acclaimed works is a series of ten picture books revolving around six-year old Jude and her family and friends.'The Halazone Series', deals with everyday childhood issues which are treated with humor and deftness by the author. One of Taghreed’s pet projects was collecting old Arabic children rhymes and publishing them in book and digital form to make them accessible to the modern child and family of today. She published two collections of rhymes, the latest entitled 'Musical Tickles' was selected by the National Centre for Children's Literature (a service of the French National Library) as one of the best publications in the Arab World in 2012/2013.

Taghreed is a member of the Jordanian Writer’s Association and takes part in international and regional conferences and workshops that deal with children literature.


About the Illustrator: Ammar Khattab

Ammar Khattab is a Syrian cartoonist who worked in many cartoon production companies, children's magazines and Arabian publishing houses . Like any artist, he has a dream to reach the top. He creates and innovates in his art especially that his art is his true passion in life