Teaching Islam and the Middle East in the Classroom

Posted in Refugee/Immigration Literature (Articles)

While I’m Your Neighbor Books provides a recommended list of books to read about other cultures, we don’t always have then answers to how to use these titles. Some titles have educator’s guides and resources available with discussion topics, but others do not. The mission of this project is to encourage readers to explore cultures and backgrounds with which they may be unfamiliar but we realize that there are many issues and questions that may come up. How do you approach sensitive subjects like Islam and the Middle East when many Americans have strong feelings about these topics?

The School Library Journal published an extremely relevant article addressing the topic of teaching Islam and the Middle East in schools. It notes the challenges teachers face in approaching such topics and shares the experiences and suggestions of educators who have integrated the subject into their curriculum. It also provides a suggested list of resources and books for teachers. Read the whole article HERE.

Two education professors from Simon Fraser University in Canada wrote another relevant article about the portrayal of women, girls and Islam in young adult literature about the Middle East. Özlem Sensoy and Elizabeth Marshall raise important points about stereotypes or pitfalls some books fall into when writing stories about Islam and the Middle East. Some of the titles are ones that we have recognized on this site, such as The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis. Far from discouraging us from using these titles, however, Sensoy and Marshall suggest on how recognizing these stereotypes can be useful in teaching about this topic in the classroom. Read the article HERE.