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The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
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The Almond Tree (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

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249None46,022 (4.46)17
Member:Betty30554
Title:The Almond Tree
Authors:Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Info:Garnet Publishing (2012), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Read, reviewed & rated
Rating:*****
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The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti (2012)

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Ichmad Hamid is gifted with a mind that continues to impress the Elders of his Village. Yet he struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his family and friend. They live on occupied land his entire village operates in fear of losing everything, but they mostly fear losing weach other. On his tweltfh birhtday. His father is imprisoned and they lose everything! His siblings succumb to hatred in the face of conflict. Ichmad begins an inspiring journet using his intellect to save his dying poor family. By doing this he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood which was filled with violence and finds a new hope for the future(less) ( )
  Georgiann | Apr 9, 2014 |
Without question the best book I've read in a long, long time. ( )
  GTTexas | Apr 1, 2014 |
This is seriously one of the best books I have ever read. It had me expressing my emotions throughout the whole book. This book is about one young boys journey to success and how determination plays a big role in success. He didn't let anything get in his way. This book also opened my eyes to the outside world in that within the united states we are a blessed nation. There are some countries so impoverished that they don't even know what clean water is let alone how to read or write. Michelle shows us in her book that no matter what your background is or how much you have or don't have in life, the key to being successful is in the mind and will power of us all. Anyone can be successful. It just depends on how bad they crave success. ( )
  myorangekiss | Feb 12, 2014 |
The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

This gripping story of Michelle Cohen Corasanti's "The Almond Tree" began in 1955 and centered on the dilemmas of Arab-Israeli conflict. Trended themes covered by her book included the following: the plight of refugees, racism, ignorance, brutality, sacrifice, aspirations, kindness, forgiveness, obligation, education, abuse and power. These themes were explained through the life of the book's main character, Ichmad, and how his family utilized the almond tree that was growing on the property to which the relatives were resettled after being forcefully evicted from their previous home.

The almond tree was not just any old plant with a trunk, branches and foliage. Corasanti delivered meaningful, multi-faceted sets of circumstances under which the tree helped Ichmad's family to survive. It served as a place for Ichmad's family to observe how the Israelis lived vastly different than the Palestinian did. The almond tree provided shelter and a source of income. Its almonds were sold to purchase goods and services. Its branches served as a showering area when a sheet hung from its branches to create a privacy stall. The tree was a source of food and entertainment. Its branches were broken off to make bows and arrows for a game of bulls-eye.

The almond tree was confidante and consoler; plus, it served as a burial site--though, not only for bodies. The soil at its base became a hiding place for weapons of the Palestinian freedom fighters, creating an incredibly severe situation that almost permanently destroyed the family's ability to survive. The culmination of the adverse situations created a significant amount of hatred; but, Ichmad's father was a wise and kind man who wanted his son to understand that hate created more conflict. Hate prevented progress. "One cannot live on anger, my son" (pg. 16) was said by Baba.

My heart ached at reading "The Almond Tree," and my eyes filled with tears while reading a couple of sections in it. I did not want to set down this text because of how well the author developed her characters and masterfully conveyed the tragedy of the on-going Arab-Israeli conflict. It is with the aforementioned in mind, and so much more, that I am easily rating "The Almond Tree" a total of five stars.

Please note that the aforementioned opinions are purely my own and not reflective of author nor publisher bias; but, as mandated by Federal Law of the United States of America, I am required to advise that I received this book, free of charge, as a giveaway from the GoodReads FirstReads Program. ( )
  LibStre | Feb 6, 2014 |
I received a copy of this book thru a goodreads giveaway.
This book deals with the very complex & political situation in Palestine territories and Israel in a way that provides both humanizing insight and a perspective not often seen. It's a book with so much loss experienced but contains a nice balance of hope as well as the belief that education opens doors while bridging cultural differences & prejudices. For a debut novel it is quite impressive. ( )
  PiperUp | Feb 6, 2014 |
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Epigraph
"That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary - [and now] go study." Rabbi Hillel (30BC - 10AD), one of the greatest rabis of the Talmudic era.
Dedication
To Sarah and Jon-Robert
To Joe who gave me the courage to embrace what I would have preferred to bury.To Joe who gave me the courage to embrace what I would have preferred to bury.
First words
Mama always said Amal was mischievous.
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Book description
In 2003, Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner unveiled a moving and inspirational story set amongst the history of modern Afghanistan. The beautiful story of the love between fathers and sons permeated throughout the novel and helped readers better understand the history and people of Afghanistan. This fall, Michelle Cohen Corasanti’s stunning debut The Almond Tree (Garnet; October 16, 2012; Trade Paperback Original; $14.95) sheds new light on the Arabs in Israel. An insightful and inspiring novel, The Almond Tree recasts a culture frequently seen in the news but often misunderstood. 

In a divided land where family sacrifices supersede individual dreams, The Almond Tree follows the life of a boy named Ichmad in a small rural village. Michelle Cohen Corasanti’s characters convey the spirit of a resilient culture through their actions, their relationships and, most convincingly, through Ichmad’s voice. From his overbearing mother to the death of a sibling, from the pressures of an inter-faith relationship to the fallout of discrimination, Ichmad confronts each challenge with remarkable strength and determination, whether it is political, religious or otherwise. Amidst a background of violence and poverty, this story of perseverance showcases the remarkable tenacity of the human spirit and offers a wholly original, inspirational tale that will remain with readers for years to come.

Cohen Corasanti’s novel brings humanity and clarity to the Arab-Israeli conflict, exploring themes of redemption, family sacrifice and the benefits of education and tolerance. Her personal experience of living in Israel for seven years while attending high school and obtaining her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern studies from the Hebrew University lends the perspective, insight and ability to craft this story. The Almond Tree respectfully travels a controversial history and delivers an enriching experience that is a testament to the human spirit and a hope for peace.
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A tale of two Palestinian brothers, one full of anger and hate, the other trying to build a bridge through scientific endeavour. Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his family s home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ichmad begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence and loss, and discovers a new hope for the future.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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