Against the Tide
After the tragic death of Yusra’s older brother, and an unfortunate accident that renders her fisherman father paralyzed and in a wheelchair, it is up 15-year-old Yusra to step forward and help provide for her small family. She repairs her father’s fishing boat and takes it out to sea, becoming Gaza’s first fisher woman at the age of 15. Inspired by a true story, this novel will warm the hearts of its’ readers and shine a light of hope in them.
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Parent and Teacher guide
Sometimes we face difficult and painful situations in life, which might make us feel hopeless and bring us down. 15 year-old Yusra however, was able to overcome the feeling of helplessness and think of a way that would get her and her family out of the rut they’re in.
After the tragic death of her elder brother, and an unfortunate accident that renders her fisherman father paralyzed and in a wheelchair, Yusra decides to take over her father’s fishing boat and therefore become the first and only fisherwoman in Gaza. The conservative society in Gaza is shocked and condemning, but with the support of her family, Yusra perseveres and ventures out to sea where she faces the same challenges as other fishermen in Gaza. She is restricted to fish in a 3 nautical mile zone which over time has become very hard to find enough fish in. The Israeli war ships are always looming menacingly in the horizon ready to pounce on any fisherman who
crosses the 3 nautical mile zone. After a run in with the Israeli Navy ships the international media gets hold of her story and asks for an interview with her. Later, more opportunities open up for her when she becomes a member of a cultural centre and has access to the internet. Suddenly life becomes full of possibilities.
Reflecting back on the choice that she has made to become a fisherwoman, Yusra realizes that you can be whoever you set your mind to be and that even if she is living in Gaza, “one of the biggest prisons in the world “she still has control and can change her fate.
This story is recommended as a supplementary reader in schools as it addresses a number of topics of interest to teenagers; overcoming hardship, taking responsibility of your life, courage, friendship and what it means to be a teenager in a war torn place like Gaza, where people have been under total blockade for years now.
This story was inspired by the true story of a young Gazan girl called Madelein Callab who became Gaza’s first fisher woman at the age of 14 .
Other than that all the characters and plot are fictional. All persons mentioned in the story and unfolding details in the story are fictional.
About the Author
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
Born in Damascus in 1977, a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University in 1998. Gulnar started working as a writer and illustrator of children's books in 2004 and has published more than twenty books since then. Her title “My Ego and I” won the Al Sharjah best children book award for children aged 6-8, and in 2009 her book “When I am Mad, When I am Sad” won her the Anna Lindh Foundation award in Damascus. She continues to participate in workshops for illustration in different parts of the world.