Whose Doll is this?
Born and raised in the US, 17-year-old Arwa is looking for a special gift to give to her grandmother Laila, a university professor in Chicago. Never in her wildest dreams did she expect to find such an unbelievable present. Together with her best friend Sarah she embarks on an exciting adventure to find out how her Grandma’s present ended up in Chicago all the way from Jaffa Palestine. As the story of a family of Palestinian immigrants unfolds, Arwa must find the right balance between two cultures and come to terms with her family’s painful history.
Parent and Teacher guide
- The events of this novel take place in Chicago where the 2 main characters or heroines live. Grandma Laila is a professor at one of the Universities in Chicago and Arwa the granddaughter is getting ready to start her University studies.
- The two stories of Laila and Arwa unfold at the same time. Laila takes us back in time to her life with her family in Jaffa Palestine and later to their refuge in Beirut and finally to the United States with her husband where they study and work and get naturalized.
- Arwa is finding it hard to balance between her Lebanese/Palestinian culture and the American culture she was born and brought up in. She is on a mission to discover her roots and come to terms with the loss of her Father during the Israeli invasion of Beirut before she was even born.
- An old family photograph in Laila’s sitting room taken in Jaffa plays an important role in the novel. It shows Laila as a little girl hugging her doll Sally. When Nada the youngest grandchild asks her grandmother to find her a similar looking doll, the search begins. It is not easy task and Laila asks Arwa to help her find a look-alike doll in eBay online store. While searching the site, to her complete amazement Arwa stumbles upon Sally her Grandma’s original doll. She decides to follow the trail of Sally and find out how she got all the way to Chicago from Jaffa. Teachers and Parents Guide:
- What are the positive and the negative aspects of living far away from your homeland?
- Does immigrating and living in another society and culture mean we have to blend in and lose our culture and identity?
- How do wars affect the lives of people in general and the demography of the homeland?
- How did Laila’s memories affect her life’s direction?
- What do you think of Arwa’s quest for self-discovery?
- What is the importance of documentation and memoires in the struggle against occupation?
- What brought Nurit and Laila together?
What does Sally the doll symbolize in the novel?
About the Author
Taghreed Najjar is an award-winning author of children and young adult books. She started writing in the late ’70s while working as a teacher. She is considered a pioneer in the field of children literature in Jordan. In 1996 she founded her own publishing house, Al Salwa, which is now one of the top publishers for children content in the region. She does her best writing in her quiet office overlooking her flower-filled garden, with her pet turtle and cat for company. She especially enjoys interacting with her readers and truly feels privileged to be part of their childhood memories. Her books have been translated into numerous languages. To know more about Taghreed’s books follow her on social media and check out www.alsalwabooks.com.