The American Library Association has compiled a list of recommended reading related to the Persian Gulf crisis that may help teachers and parents assuage children’s fears about the war. Published in the Jan. 15 edition of the ala’s “Book Links” newsletter, the list includes titles for readers from kindergarten through 8th grade. The 50 books chosen range from works of fiction and poetry to picture books and informational books on the Middle East. The following is a sampling:
We Live in Saudi Arabia, by Abdul Latiff Al Hoad. 1987. Watts, $9.49. Grades 2-5. Color photographs and conversational text are used as people from a crosssection of Saudi Arabian society tell about life in this desert nation.
Take a Trip to Saudi Arabia, by Keith Lye. 1984. Watts, $10.90. Grades 2-4. Younger readers will find the photographs of interest in this introduction to the customs, people, and history of Saudi Arabia. Also available in the “Take A Trip To” series are books on Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Randolph’s Dream, by Judith Mellecker, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker. Feb. 1991. Knopf, $14.95. Grades 2-5. Although set during World War II, this story about how a young English boy dreams of saving his soldier-father from death on the North African desert can easily be linked to the fears of children today.
Kuwait, by Martin Mulloy. 1988. Chelsea House, $13.95.Grades 5-8. An introduction to Kuwait, describing the people, history, culture, government, and economy. Also in the Chelsea House “Let’s Visit Places and Peoples of the World” series is Saudi Arabia.
Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus, by Barbara Bash. 1989. Sierra Club, $14.95. Grades 2-5. Describes the ecosystem of this immense desert plant and the birds and animals it helps support.
Deserts, by Seymour Simon. 1990. Morrow, $13.95.Grades 2-5. Explains how deserts come to be, focusing on “deserts that are hot for at least part of the year.” Includes full-color photographs of desert landscapes and maps of the desert regions of the world.
The Hidden Life of the Desert, by Thomas Wiewandt. 1990. Crown, $12.95. Grades 2-5. Gives a view of the vast interdependence of the desert’s ecosystem of plants and animals as seen in the American Southwest.
Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind, by Suzanne Fisher. 1989. Knopf, $13.95. Grades 6-8. Set in the Cholistan Desert of modern-day Pakistan, this fictional work for advanced readers tells the story of an 11-year-old girl pledged in marriage to an older man.
A Gift for the King, by Christopher Manson. 1989. Holt, $14.95. K-Grade 3. A king of Persia learns what is truly important when a young boy offers him water.
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, by Barbara Cohen & Bahijia Lovejoy. 1982. Macmillan, $12.95. Grades 6-8. Based on an Arabian folktale, this story features an ingenious young girl who disguises herself as a male to better her family’s fortunes.
Dance in the Desert, by Madeleine L’Engle, illustrated by Symeon Shimin. 1969. Farrar, $12.95. Grades 2-5. The story is about a little boy who tames the dangers of the desert. Illuminated by a caravan’s firelight, the subjects of Shimin’s illustrations reveal the story’s allegorical significance.
Desert Voices, by Byrd Baylor. 1980. Scribner, $13.95. Grades 1-5. Ten desert creatures speak in this volume of poetry about their homes, lives, and the world in which they live.
A free copy of the full list is available by writing to “Book Links,’' 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
A version of this article appeared in the February 27, 1991 edition of Education Week as A Persian Gulf Reading Sampler