The Tiny Journalist (American Poets Continuum Series)

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Inspired by the reporting of then ten-year-old Janna Jihad Ayyad, a Palestinian girl who used social media to publish her accounts of the struggles within that region, Naomi Shihab Nye’s latest collection, Tiny Journalist is a study in hope and heartbreak.

Nye begins the collection with a short biographical note regarding the poems and her personal connection to the region they depict. She writes of her father’s life in Nabi Selah village (the same place Janna is from) as a refugee from Jerusalem in 1948 and of Nye’s own teenage years “between Jerusalem and Ramallah.” This note is important in that it shows her ties to the area and contextualizes the poems that speak of experiences similar to her own, to Janna’s, and to those of Nye’s father.

The scope of the collection is wide. Nye attacks the political realm of the Middle East from the perspective of a Palestinian. She levels fair and warranted criticism at the West for not seeing the consequences of their overtures in the region, and she directly speaks on historical figures such as Netanyahu and former-President Jimmy Carter. It is the poems about her father and the tiny journalist who give the book its name, Janna, that spark most with life. There is little room for criticism in the frank and gorgeous way Nye cuts through the division to reveal the pulsing heart of humanity in these poems.

The book is not only for lovers of Nye’s work or for fans of poetry; it is, instead, a necessary and powerful look at the people—living, breathing, fighting, dying people—who are often lost in grander ideological discussions. It is a book that demands to be read and shared, over and over again.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 128 pages
Publisher Naomi Shihab Nye
Publish Date 2019-04-09
ISBN 9781942683735 Buy this Book
Issue June 2019
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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