Books: Art; Illustration; Poetry


Scroll down to see the books in this category.

These collections of books have been assembled from many sources of recommended reading on Israel/Palestine, including: the United Church of Christ (UCC) and UCC PIN, Sabeel, Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP) and others. Many of the book descriptions are taken from Amazon.com; some come from the source of that book recommendation.

Presented in the following categories on individual pages:
• AAbout/By Palestinian Christians
Religion; The Bible; Christian Zionism
History
Personal Histories: Memoirs, Autobiographies, Novels
Political Analysis; Diplomatic History
The Current Situation
About Palestinians inside Israel
Zionism; Jewish Identity
Faith Relations; Anti-Semitism
Art; Illustration; Poetry
Tourism; The Politics of Tourism
Please note: some books are listed in more than one category.
The order of the books within each category is random and is not related to the importance of the work.

Please send us your suggestions for additions to these lists; contact us at info@palestineportal.org.

Footnotes in Gaza, by Joe Sacco
“Sacco brings the conflict down to the most human level, allowing us to imagine our way inside it, to make the desperation he discovers, in some small way, our own.”―Los Angeles Times

Rafah, a town at the bottommost tip of the Gaza Strip, has long been a notorious flashpoint in the bitter Middle East conflict. Buried deep in the archives is one bloody incident, in 1956, that left 111 Palestinians shot dead by Israeli soldiers. Seemingly a footnote to a long history of killing, that day in Rafah―cold-blooded massacre or dreadful mistake―reveals the competing truths that have come to define an intractable war.

In a quest to get to the heart of what happened, Joe Sacco immerses himself in the daily life of Rafah and the neighboring town of Khan Younis, uncovering Gaza past and present. As in Palestine and Safe Area Goražde, his unique visual journalism renders a contested landscape in brilliant, meticulous detail. Spanning fifty years, moving fluidly between one war and the next, Footnotes in Gaza―Sacco’s most ambitious work to date―transforms a critical conflict of our age into intimate and immediate experience.


Palestine: The Special Edition, by Joe Sacco
The landmark of comics journalism in an expanded and re-designed edition that includes a host of unseen supplemental material, including background notes, sketches, reference photos, a new interview with Sacco, and much more.

The definitive, expanded, hardcover collection of Sacco’s landmark of comics journalism, Palestine: The Special Edition is more than a new edition: consider it the “Criterion” Palestine. In addition to the original, 288-page graphic novel and introduction by the late Edward Said, The Special Edition includes a host of unique material never before published, including many of Sacco’s original background notes, sketches, photographic reference, and much more. The book also includes a new, introductory interview with Sacco about the making of the book as well as a new cover and design. Palestine: The Special Edition will be a cornerstone of any serious comic collection. With the Middle East’s role in contemporary world politics, Sacco’s Palestine has never been more relevant or more valuable to a country desperate to understand this long-running conflict.

Based on several months of research and an extended visit to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 1990s (where he conducted over 100 interviews with Palestinians and Jews), Palestine was the first major comics work of political and historical nonfiction by Sacco, whose name has since become synonymous with this graphic form of New Journalism. Sacco’s insightful reportage takes place at the front lines, where busy marketplaces are spoiled by shootings and tear gas, soldiers beat civilians with reckless abandon, and roadblocks go up before reporters can leave. Sacco interviewed and encountered prisoners, refugees, protesters, wounded children, farmers who had lost their land, and families who had been torn apart by the Palestinian conflict.


A Child in Palestine: The Cartoons of Naji al-`Ali
Naji al-Ali grew up in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in the south Lebanese city of Sidon, where his gift for drawing was discovered by the Palestinian poet Ghassan Kanafani in the late 1950s. Early the following decade he left for Kuwait, embarking on a thirty-year career that would see his cartoons published daily in newspapers from Cairo to Beirut, London to Paris.
Resolutely independent and unaligned to any political party, Naji al-Ali strove to speak to and for the ordinary Arab people; the pointed satire of his stark, symbolic cartoons brought him widespread renown. Through his most celebrated creation, the witness-child Handala, al-Ali criticized the brutality of Israeli occupation, the venality and corruption of the regimes in the region, and the suffering of the Palestinian people, earning him many powerful enemies and the soubriquet “the Palestinian Malcolm X.”
For the first time in book form, A Child in Palestine presents the work of one of the Arab world’s greatest cartoonists, revered throughout the region for his outspokenness, honesty and humanity.
“That was when the character Handala was born. The young, barefoot Handala was a symbol of my childhood. He was the age I was when I had left Palestine and, in a sense, I am still that age today and I feel that I can recall and sense every bush, every stone, every house and every tree I passed when I was a child in Palestine. The character of Handala was a sort of icon that protected my soul from falling whenever I felt sluggish or I was ignoring my duty. That child was like a splash of fresh water on my forehead, bringing me to attention and keeping me from error and loss. He was the arrow of the compass, pointing steadily towards Palestine. Not just Palestine in geographical terms, but Palestine in its humanitarian sense—the symbol of a just cause, whether it is located in Egypt, Vietnam or South Africa.”—Naji al-Ali, in conversation with Radwa Ashour


A River Dies of Thirst, by Mahmoud Darwish
This remarkable collection of poems, meditations, fragments, and journal entries was the last volume to come out in Arabic by Mahmour Darwish, the poet laureate of Palestine. This River is at once lyrical and philosophical, questioning and wise, full of irony, resistance, and play. Darwish’s musings on unrest and loss dwell on love and humanity; myth and dream are inseparable from truth. Throughout this personal collection, Darwish returns frequently to his ongoing and often lighthearted conversation with death. A River Dies of Thirst is a collection of quiet revelations, embracing poetry, life, death, love, and the human condition.


The Butterfly’s Burden, by Mahmoud Darwish
“Mahmoud Darwish is the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging, exquisitely tuned singer of images that invoke, link, and shine a brilliant light into the world’s whole heart. What he speaks has been embraced by readers around the world—his in an utterly necessary voice, unforgettable once discovered.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

Mahmoud Darwish is the leading poet in the Arab world, an artist and activist who attracts thousands to his public readings.

The Butterfly’s Burden combines the complete text of Darwish’s two most recent full-length volumes, linked by the stunning memoir-witness poem “A State of Siege.” Love poems, sonnets, journal-like distillations, and interlaced lyrics balance old literary traditions with new forms, highlighting loving reflections alongside bitter longing.

Mahmoud Darwish is the author of 30 books of poetry and prose, as well as the Palestinian Declaration of Independence. He has worked as a journalist, was director of the Palestinian Research Center, and lived in exile until his return to Palestine in 1996. He has received many international awards for his poetry.


Unfortunately, It Was Paradise, by Mahmoud Darwish
Mahmoud Darwish is a literary rarity: at once critically acclaimed as one of the most important poets in the Arabic language, and beloved as the voice of his people. A legend in Palestine, his lyrics are sung by fieldworkers and schoolchildren. He has assimilated some of the world’s oldest literary traditions while simultaneously struggling to open new possibilities for poetry. This collection spans Darwish’s entire career, nearly four decades, revealing an impressive range of expression and form. A splendid team of translators has collaborated with the poet on these new translations, which capture Darwish’s distinctive voice and spirit. Fady Joudah’s foreword, new to this edition, addresses Darwish’s enduring legacy following his death in 2008.