In this brief novel, told in short chapters by the
acclaimed poet and National Book Award finalist Naomi Shihab Nye, Aref Al-Amri
says good-bye to everything and everyone he loves in his hometown of Muscat,
Oman, as his family prepares to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is Naomi
Shihab Nye’s first novel set in the Middle East since her acclaimed Habibi.
Aref Al-Amri does not want to leave Oman. He does
not want to leave his elementary school, his friends, or his beloved
grandfather, Siddi. He does not want to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his
parents will go to graduate school. His mother is desperate for him to pack his
suitcase—but he refuses. Finally, she calls Siddi for help. But rather than
pack, Aref and Siddi go on a series of adventures. They visit the camp of a
thousand stars deep in the desert, they sleep on Siddi’s roof, they fish in the
Gulf of Oman and dream about going to India, they travel to the nature reserve
to watch the sea turtles. At each stop, Siddi finds a small stone that he later
slips into Aref’s suitcase—mementos of home.
This accessible, exquisite novel shines with gentle
humor and explores themes of moving, family, nature, and immigration. Naomi
Shihab Nye’s warmth, attention to detail, and belief in the power of empathy
and connection shines from every page. Download and start listening now!