Hannah Moushabeck is a second-generation Palestinian American author, editor, and book marketer from Amherst, Massachusetts, which resides on the homelands of the Pocumtuc and Nipmuc Nations (Clip 1 below). She was born in Brooklyn, NY, and her parents emigrated in the 1970s; however, after an unfortunate misunderstanding between Hannah’s mother and the cats of Brooklyn about the use of a sandbox…they moved to Leverett, MA! (Clip 2) When they left Brooklyn, they also left behind a full community of Arab Americans and other displaced immigrants. In Leverett, Hannah’s family was the only family of color in the school. Hannah noticed that she was unlike her neighbors and classmates and she found refuge and felt seen when she read Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye– at the time, Sitti’s Secrets was the only picture book written by a Palestinian American (Clip 3). The next traditionally published picture book to be written by a Palestinian American would be Hannah's book, Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine, written almost 30 years later!
Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine is about Hannah and her sisters growing up listening to their father tell them stories about their faraway homeland, Palestine, a place they have never been able to visit but grew up loving so deeply (Clip 4). They listen to their father’s memories of the beautiful people, sounds, and smells of the Old City of Jerusalem. What family stories does your adult share with you?
Although Homeland is Hannah’s first book she is not new to the world of books and publishing! She grew up amidst stacks upon stacks of books watching her parents dedicate themselves to publishing works broadening the representation of Arab people in literature through their publishing house, Interlink Publishing based in Northampton, MA! (Clip 5) Hannah continues with this work and continues to look for the stories that are not typically told. Her advice to kiddos who might want to write their own stories is to write about what makes you special or different or about your interests that might be uncommon because what is unique to you is one of the best things you can share! (Clip 6)