the almond tree

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Books more people should read
» The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti «

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Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his Palestinian friends and family. Ruled by the Israeli military government, the entire village operates in fear of losing homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ichmad’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes a reality. With his father imprisoned, his family’s home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to the dangers of war, Ichmad begins the endless struggle to use his intellect to save his poor and dying family and reclaim a love for others that was lost when the bombs first hit.

“The Almond Tree” capitalizes on the reader’s desire to be picked up and dropped off in another part of the world. It tackles issues that many Americans only hear about on World News or read about at The Huffington Post, such as the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the scholasticide that is being imposed upon the Palestinians in Gaza and the current Gaza blockade. But even more, it offers hope.

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The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

The Almond Tree. Beginning in a small rural village, a young boy named Ichmad comes of age from the 1950’s to 2010 in a journey of enlightenment and understanding of the climate that surrounds him.
The Almond Tree is an inspirational story of unfathomable pain and an incredible perseverance. The Almond Tree humanizes a culture and brings characters from a distant land to life, with a family united by love but divided by their personal beliefs. From Ichmad’s staunchly traditional and at times overbearing mother, to his father who believes in the power of education, the crux of the family’s story lies in the growing dispute between two brothers who choose very different paths in order to create a new future.
The Almond Tree brings humanity and clarity to the Arab-Israeli conflict and reveals themes of redemption and family sacrifice. Michelle Cohen Corasanti’s personal experience of living in Israel for seven years while attending high school and obtaining her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern studies from the Hebrew University lends her the perspective, insight and ability to shed new light on a controversial history. The Almond Tree showcases the resilience of the human spirit and brings forth a message of the necessity of education and a plan for peace in the conflict.

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People hate out of fear and ignorance. If they could just get to know the people they hate, and focus on their common interests, they could overcome that hatred.”

The Almond Tree follows the life of a young Palestinian boy. The Almond Tree follows Ichmad’s journey through life. We see the hardship and devastation of his life when he was growing up, but finding a passion for knowledge, science and education. It also shows that a man born from war and hardship can still have hope and compassion. Ichmad is torn between his duty to his family, but his duty to himself. It is a inspirational story which brings a sense of humanity to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

I am a strong believer in equality, and this was a truly inspirational story. It is not a light hearted book and explores the issues of poverty and war and the hate which stems from it. But it is also about love, hope, friendship, family and education. It highlights the fact that education and knowledge is important if humanity is to overcome the hate that people feel towards others. Ichmad is a great protagonist and his character development was really impressive. 

Michelle Cohen Corasanti drew me into a world which I had little knowledge on and it really opened my eyes to the hardship which these people faced. She writes so beautifully and it really flowed so well. It is a wonderful, riveting, yet shocking story which proves that good can be achieved, despite the situation or background of someone. 

I highly suggest you pick The Almond Tree up. MY RATING: ★★★★★