Aref is feeling apprehensive about moving from Oman to the U.S. To ease his anxiety, his beloved grandfather takes him to all of his favorite places and reminds him that he will find his way back home—just like Oman’s green sea turtles.
Country Focus: Oman
Genre: Young adult fiction
About the author: Nye is an accomplished Arab-American poet with Palestinian roots. Both her poetry and her fiction seek to bridge the divide between cultures. The Turtle of Oman was preceded by Nye’s first young adult novel, Habibi.
[Aref] stared out the window. Gazing left up the boulevard crowded with cars and buses, Aref could see the Hajar Mountains, which meant “Stone Mountains,” standing behind the low white buildings of the city. Everyone loved those brown mountains that loomed like a comforting wall. He slumped against the backseat and felt like crying.
To the right, palm trees bowed over the road. They swayed and shifted their drying palm skirts. The giant turquoise Arabian Sea had been there every day of his life. He had always known it. Oman was his only, number one, super-duper, authentic, absolutely personal place.
Aref knew how people moved, crossing a street, how they wrapped their scarves, how the call to prayer echoed across the city and made everyone feel peaceful and proud inside. He liked the way large white boulders were stacked beside the water. He even loved the clicking sounds of shoes and animal hooves in the marketplace, called the souk.