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The O’Brien Press to Publish Palestinian Picture Book

The O’Brien Press acquires English language paperback rights in Europe and other territories worldwide to A Map for Falasteen

The O’Brien Press has acquired English language paperback rights in Europe and other territories worldwide to A Map for Falasteen – A Palestinian Child’s Search for Home written by Maysa Odeh, and illustrated by Aliaa Betawi. It will be published on 22nd October 2024, the same day that Henry Holt publish the book in the USA.

Can a place exist if it’s not on a map? Inspired by the story of her mother’s family, author Maysa Odeh has created a powerful new picture book, beautifully illustrated by Aliaa Betawi. A young Palestinian girl living in diaspora struggles to find her homeland on a map in this gentle and heartfelt picture book. Filled with beautiful, inspiring illustrations and thoughtful back matter that outlines key terms and historical moments, this is a story of family, resilience and home always being where
the heart is.

At school, Falasteen and her classmates search for their families’ home countries on a map, but no matter how hard she looks, Falasteen can’t find Palestine. Can a place exist if it’s not on a map? Confused, Falasteen turns to her family for answers. Her grandfather, grandmother, and mama tell her their family’s story. With each new answer, Falasteen begins to understand her people’s history and her own place in the world.’

Author Maysa Odeh is a Palestinian writer who grew up between Amman, Jordan, and the United States. A Map for Falasteen was inspired by a conversation with her inner child; it answers the questions she was too shy to ask as a child of Palestinian refugees. Maysa lives in California with her daughter, Malak, who asks questions all day long in Arabic and English, and sometimes even in her sleep.

Illustrator Aliaa Betawi is a self-taught Palestinian artist based in Alexandria, Egypt, who developed her craft by observing her gifted mother. She believes that every kid deserves a childhood filled with magical, joyful memories, and this is what she works to give to all kids, including herself. A Map for Falasteen was her opportunity to capture a memory of Palestine, a memory she could not enjoy as a Palestinian child in exile.

Author Maysa Odeh commented: ‘For too long, Palestinian voices have been silenced or ignored, and I want to thank the team at O’Brien Press for taking part in challenging the status quo and upholding our shared humanity.’

Ivan O’Brien, Managing Director, The O’Brien Press said: ‘Compassion for refugees, and understanding what it means to have to leave your home, has never been more important given the daily horrors in Palestine. Maysa Odeh and Aliaa Betawi have produced a remarkable book, through a child’s eye, about displacement and identity. We are very proud to be publishing A Map for Falasteen in Europe.’

A Map for Falasteen will be published in paperback in October.

The O’Brien Press will be making a charity donation to support humanitarian efforts in Palestine, through UNICEF’s Gaza Crisis Emergency Appeal. For more information, visit

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