Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Balcony on the Moon

Balcony on the Moon

Coming of Age in Palestine

Ibtisam Barakat

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)




A Palestine Book Award Shortlist Selection
A VOYA Nonfiction Honor Roll Selection
A Skipping Stones Honor Book

Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer. Ibtisam finds inspiration through writing letters to pen pals and from an adult who encourages her to keep at it, but the most surprising turn of all for Ibtisam happens when her mother decides that she would like to seek out an education, too. This memoir is a touching, at times funny, and enlightening look at the not often depicted daily life in a politically tumultuous area.

A Margaret Ferguson Book


Stone House


Grandmother Fatima has just arrived at our new apartment on Radio Street, on the northern side of Ramallah in the West Bank. She is carrying her woven bamboo basket filled with green...


Praise for Balcony on the Moon

“Lyrical and moving, Barakat’s first-person, present-tense story catapults the reader into a time when political tensions and the battle for human rights rage on, and the fight, not only for survival, but to have a voice is in full swing. Not to be missed, this memoir is a wonderful additional to any library.” —VOYA, starred review

“Divided into five parts correlating with the family’s five homes, the book captures Barakat’s growing understanding of the complex dynamics in her parents’ marriage, her outrage at gender-based restrictions, and her determination not to live a life like that of her mother. When her willingness to question and explore opens doors for her, Barakat receives encouragement and support from surprising sources, validating her sister’s statement that ‘being Palestinian teaches you to be ready for any destiny.’ This is a compelling personal history, brimming with humor, wisdom, and empathy.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Told in a first-person, present-tense voice, the episodic narrative deftly combines personal and political events. . .A pervasive sense of loss informs much of her childhood, with a growing realization that no promising future exists for her or her siblings in Palestine. A poetic, deeply felt coming-of-age story.” —Kirkus, starred review

“In this sequel to Tasting the Sky (2007), a memoir and winner of the Arab American Book Award, Barakat moves beyond her early school years during the Six-Day War and its uprooting aftermath. She focuses on the years 1971–81, when she—a feisty protofeminist—and her family shifted about in the occupied West Bank, trying to find a place that felt safe and like home...The beauty of the writing is its clear-eyed matter-of-fact-ness. Barakat doesn’t plead for sympathy (political or emotional); she just recalls, in concrete detail, this particular world as she experienced it as a young woman, and the result is as inspiring as it is engrossing.” —Booklist

“Barakat’s lovely, lyrical style depicts an adolescence that will be simultaneously familiar to readers in its universal themes (struggle to become one’s own person, family life and its usual squabbles) and very different in its backdrop of 1970s Palestine. . .At times humorous and heartbreaking, this work will immerse readers in Barakat’s experience, leaving them with—perhaps—a broadened worldview. . . Highly recommended for upper middle school and high school libraries.” —School Library Journal

About the author

Ibtisam Barakat

Ibtisam Barakat is the author of TASTING THE SKY: A PALESTINIAN CHILDHOOD. She grew up in Palestine and is an educator, poet, and peace activist. She lives in Columbia, Missouri.

Ibtisam Barakat

Steve Fisch

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Latest on Facebook