In the Fall of 2014, thanks to the generous support of a few friends of Al-Bustan, we gave a copy of The Turtle of Oman to each 4th and 5th grader at Moffet School. It was a special treat for those students to meet the author at their school in December. Ms. Nye discussed her longtime fascination with Oman and how this book about a young boy named Aref came to fruition over 6 years.
The assembly opened with students in Al-Bustan’s After-school Arab Arts program performing a short medley of Arabic songs and drum solos, followed by Ms. Nye reading excerpts from the book and sharing stories about Oman and her writing process. She had the students totally engrossed and by the end they were anxious to ask her many questions, ranging from when will she write the sequel about Aref once he arrives in America (her answer, “I think YOU should write the sequel”), to her fascination with languages and the places she has traveled to.
Following the question and answer period, the students waited eagerly to have their copy of the Turtle of Oman signed by Ms. Nye. As the students stood in line to greet her personally, they were jittery with excitement and had even more questions and comments for Ms. Nye as she signed each book, always smiling and encouraging them to continue reading.
Ms. Nye’s visit to Moffet was one of several events during her three days in Philadelphia. You can learn more from these blogposts by Program Coordinator Max Dugan: Review of The Turtle of Oman, Review of Concert with Naomi Shihab Nye, and Talking about Oman with Moffet Students.