BOOK review: The Map of Salt and Stars

“Stories are powerful, but gather too many of the words of others in your heart and they will drown out your own. Remember that.”

The Map of Salt and Stars tells the stories of Nour and Rawaya, two refugees who share similar paths even if years apart from one another. Having lost her father, Nour can’t imagine her life getting any worse but all that changes when her mother decides to move them from NYC to Syria so they can be closer to friends. But, the country that her mother once knew has changed and before they know it, they’re caught up in an ongoing war and soon their home is destroyed leaving them in a bind. They can either stay or flee with other refugees across parts of North Africa and the Middle East in search of safety. Nearly a thousand years earlier, Rawaya is a young sixteen year old who is running out of options to help her impoverished mother and while she doesn’t want to leave her mother, she knows it’s the only choice in order to give her a better life. Disguising herself as a boy, she eventually finds herself thrown into an epic journey across North African and the Middle East as an apprentice, for Al-Idrisi who has been commissioned by King Roger II of Italy to create a map of the world.

This is one of those stories where you may not want to read it but you need to read it as it was incredibly moving, powerful, heartbreaking while informative and educational. Not everyone will want to read this book simply because of the content discussed throughout the book as this is a very sensitive topic and one that can cause lots of discourse. The stories of Nour and Rawaya were moving, sad, and inspiring at the same time as the two both showed courage, resilience, and unwavering hope that kept them going even when they felt like they couldn’t. While reading this, it made me feel humbled that I have such privileges that I do and I will always have those and the struggles that I face seem so simple compared to what others face.

Along with this important content, The Map of Salt and Stars is also beautifully written so I highly recommend cheeking this out even if it’snot your usual genre because I think everyone needs to be more aware of this issue.

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