Ronit & Jamil
Ronit, an Israeli teen, lives with her parents and sisters near the wall that separates her village from the Palestinian territory. Ronit goes with her father, a pharmacist, to a clinic in East Jerusalem run by an Arab doctor. The doctor’s son, Jamil, is there. Both fathers warn their children to not look at the other. Of course, they do look at each other and find each is fascinated with the other. Soon they are finding ways to meet and spend time together, and, inevitably, they fall in love. Over time, their love deepens, and they become more and more desperate to be together. But the danger is always that their families will discover their relationship and put an end to it.
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one many young Americans know little about. This modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is an excellent story to use to introduce the issue. It is a short book, beautifully written in spare, lyrical verse that incorporates lines from Shakespeare’s play as well as from Middle-Eastern poetry. Author Pamela L. Laskin also uses some Middle-Eastern poetic forms. This book will likely become a classroom favorite.
Pamela L. Laskin
Katherine Tegen Books