I need to see Sitti Zeynab one
last time. To know if I will have the courage to go ahead with my plan.
The two nurses look frazzled and smile wearily at me. 'We must leave
now,' they say in urgent tones. 'I won't be long,' I reassure them and I
jump up onto the back of the ambulance. I can smell the air of her
village, pure and scented. I can see her village as though it were
Bethlehem itself. I can smell the almond trees. Hear my heels click on
the courtyard tiles. See myself jumping two steps at a time down the
limestone stairs. I can see Sitti Zeynab sitting in the front porch of
the house. I only have to remember that walk through her memories and I
know I can make my promise. I've already lost once. I refuse to lose
again. 'Stay alive,' I whisper. 'And you shall touch that soil again.'
Hayaat is on a mission. She believes a handful of soil from her
grandmother's ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti
Zeynab's life. The only problem is the impenetrable wall that divides
the West Bank, as well as the check points, the curfews, the permit
system and Hayaat's best-friend Samy, who is mainly interested in
football and the latest elimination on X-Factor, but always manages to
But luck is on their side. Hayaat and Samy have a
curfew-free day to travel to Jerusalem. However, while their journey
may only be a few kilometres long, it may take a lifetime to complete.
- Current theatre adaptation by Monkeybaa Theatre to go on stage 2017.
- Winner of the State Library of Victoria’s Centre for Youth Literature’s top prize, the Golden Inkys award in November 2009.
- Selected as a Notable Book by the Children's Book Council.
- Short-listed for the Adelaide Literary Festival Awards.
- Listed in America’s YALSA’s 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults
- Winner of the Winner Middle East Outreach Council (MEOC) young adult book of the year 2011 (USA)