2015: Mornings in Jenin

One Book web bright green

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine is delighted to announce the success of our first “One Book, Many Communities” campaign. In January 2015, readers in cities and towns across the globe, in the US, Italy, Sweden, Palestine, and elsewhere, met in small groups to discuss Susan Abulhawa’s novel Mornings in Jenin.

A total of 36 groups met. In some places, the groups were small, consisting of 4 to 6 attendees. In other places, groups were larger, consisting of 20 or more participants. In Montreal, Canada, 55 people attended two separate events. In Venice, Italy, over 100 people attended a theatrical program, featuring music, dramatic readings, and projections. In the US, groups met in California (Los Angeles, Cloverdale); Michigan (Grand Rapids, Dearborn); Massachusetts (Pelham, Winchester); New York (Brooklyn, Ithaca); as well as in Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Columbia, Maryland; Springfield, Illinois; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Madison, Wisconsin; and Austin, Texas. In Italy, groups met in Rome, Trieste, Bari, Torino, Genova, Bologna, and Venice. In Canada groups met in Montreal and Toronto. In Sweden groups met in Malmo and Stockholm. Groups met in Ramallah and in Tel Aviv. There were also two online discussions.

bari 1
Bari, Italy

Participants came from a diversity of backgrounds. One group convener noted that participants in her discussion group “included those who are already very involved with Palestine work…; people involved in other sorts of activist work…; [and] people who are not involved at all with activist work.”

Feedback was almost uniformly positive. One participant wrote: “I cannot think of a book that has changed my reading of the news more than Mornings in Jenin. Thanks for suggesting it.” Others noted that participants “were enthusiastic about the book and the project” and “felt changed by the story.” One participant told us that her group had “a great discussion for almost two hours.” Another wrote to say: “We thank you all for organizing this. Though our group was small, we were glad to be a part of something global.”

Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA

Discussions ranged widely. Some groups focused their conversations on the book as a work of literature, analyzing “the book in terms of narrative style, prose, structure” and “as a work of persuasion.” Several groups discussed “Susan Abulhawa’s claim that Mornings in Jenin is a love story.” One group “agreed that it could be seen that way “romantic love, familial love, friendship, and love of land.” Another group’s discussion of ” the book as a love story” led to widespread agreement that “Yousef was presented as an ideal man and a tragic figure.” Participants also considered “what Mornings in Jenin is trying to do/can potentially do in terms of Palestine in the 21st century.”

Other groups took up questions related to the book’s depiction of “the history and contemporary struggles of Palestinians.” “We talked about Palestinian contemporary life,” one discussion convener noted, “[as well as] the history of the occupation, and what we see for Palestine’s future (we all believe the occupation will end). We also discussed comparisons between the Palestinian plight and South African, Native American and African American struggles with oppression and marginalization.” Another group took “the book as point of departure” for discussions of “the Palestine situation/history in general.”

In short, as one participant explained, “Several people were moved by the story and the characters; some were more interested in the political and historical information.”


Press outlets covered some events. An article about the campaign appeared in Trieste’s newspaper, Il Piccolo (pictured at right). In Montreal, the radio program “Under the Olive Tree” (on CKUT | 90.3 FM) discussed the event, and the book, with conveners of the “One Book, Many Communities” discussion groups at McGill University. The Dearborn Press and Guide published an article about that city’s discussion group. Freelance writer H.H. Barlow wrote a blog post about her experience with the project. Participants in Montreal live-tweeted the discussions, and many others made good use of the #lap1book hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. (For a Storify of #lap1book-related tweets, click here.)

Thanks to everyone who participated! Send us your suggestions (librarians2palestine@gmail.com) for the next book selection!

RESOURCES about Mornings in Jenin:

Handout: Mornings in Jenin resource guide listing books, films, and maps to explore.


Campaign launch with Susan Abulhawa: November 8, 2014, 7pm. Bluestockings, New York, New York.

Group Discussions:

  • January 8, hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace, Pelham, MA.
  • January 10, online discussion group, hosted by a private group.
  • January 10, 2pm, hosted by Revolution Books, 5726 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. (323) 463-3500.
  • January 11 and January 18, 1-3pm, hosted by Committee for Justice in Palestine, Buffalo Street Books, Dewitt Mall, 215 N. Cayuga St. Ithaca, NY. (1/11 for Parts I-IV, 1/18 for Parts V-VIII)
  • January 13, 6pm, hosted by a private group, Brooklyn, NY.
  • January 14, hosted by a private group. Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY.
  • January 15,hosted in Austin, TX.
  • January 15,  hosted by Malmo City Library, Garaget branch. Malmo, Sweden.
  • January 18, hosted by Committee for Palestinian Rights. David’s Natural Market Cafe, 5410 Lynx Lane, Columbia, MD.
  • January 18, 4:30pm Springfield, IL.
  • January 19, Montreal, Quebec. Islamic Studies Library, McGill University.
  • January 20, 4pm, hosted by the Palestinian section of International Board on Books for Young People (PBBY). At Tamer Institute for Community Education. Ramallah, Palestine.
  • January 20, Online Discussion. Twitter, at #lap1book.
  • January 21, The International Library, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • January 22, hosted by a private group. Prospect Lefferts, Brooklyn, NY.
  • January 23, Libreria Lovat, Trieste, Italy. (Included a Skype visit with author Susan Abulhawa.)
  • January 23, Associazione Giardini Luzzati, via Giardini Luzzati 1, Genova, Italy.
  • January 24, Biblioteca Cabral, via San Mamolo 24, 40136, Bologna, Italy.
  • January 24, Dearborn Public Library, Dearborn, MI. (Included Skype visit with author Susan Abulhawa.)
  • January 24, La Villetta, via degli Armatori 3, Roma, Italy.
  • January 24, Centro Culturale Candiani, Piazzale L. Candiani, 7 Mestre, Venice, Italy.
  • January 24, Libreria Zaum, via Cardassi 85-86, Bari, Italy.
  • January 24, University of New Orleans, 2000 Lakeshore Dr., Kirschman Hall Room 122, New Orleans, LA.
  • January 28, Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library, Brooklyn, NY.
  • January 28, Cloverdale Library, Cloverdale, CA.
  • January 28,  Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St., Toronto, Ontario.
  • January 28,  Hosted by Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Madison Playgrounds for Palestine, Peregrine Forum, and Madison Infoshop Free Skool. At Downtown Madison Public Library, Madison, WI.
  • January 29, Islamic Studies Library, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.
  • January 29, Braddock Carnegie Library, 419 Library St, Braddock, Pittsburgh, PA.  (Also February 12, 6:30pm.)
  • January 29, Organized by All That’s Left, Tel Aviv.
  • January 30, Circolo dei Lettori, Torino, Italy.
  • January 31, Winchester Unitarian Society, 478 Main Street, Winchester, MA.
  • January 31, New Orleans, LA.
  • January 31, Hosted by Justice and Peace Task Force of Plymouth United Church of Christ. 4010 Kalamazoo Ave S.E., Grand Rapids, MI.
  • January 31, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. 25 Boulevard NE., Atlanta, GA.
  • February 8, Lucy’s Book Club, private home, Grand Rapids, MI.
  • February 15, Private book group, York, UK.
  • February 22, Wuppertal, Germany.
  • February 26, Cagliari, Italy. Part of Israeli Apartheid Week.

Below, a gallery of pictures from events held in Brooklyn, Rome, Ithaca, Pittsburgh, Dearborn, Venice, Bari, Grand Rapids, Stockholm, and elsewhere.

Flyer and Bookmark Templates for Mornings in Jenin Events