Code Name: Butterfly


Should you feel bad if your dad works for the Israeli occupiers? What if he loses his job? And how are you supposed to cope when someone close to you dies?

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Code Name: Butterfly (Ismee al-Harakee Farasha in Arabic) by Ahlam Bsharat

Butterfly is smart. Some people even say she’s shrewd, but that doesn’t make life any less confusing. Every day throws up new questions and some are too big for her to handle alone. Squirrelling away the difficult ones in her treasure chest, Butterfly creates a place of strength in her imagination. While her classmates turn to protest and violence, Butterfly finds her own form of resilience, her own secret way to find peace in a world of conflict and uncertainty.

Written with ironic humour and touching idealism, Butterfly looks back at a turbulent summer in her early teens, drawing us into her world of adult hypocrisy, sibling rivalries, power struggles with her school friends, unrequited love… and the daily tensions of Palestinian life under military occupation. A teenage perspective on one of the most protracted conflicts of our times, Code Name: Butterfly is a story for all teens grappling with friendship, family and the emotional storms ahead.

‘Full of humour, brave and honest, Code Name: Butterfly is by far the best young adult novel from the Arab world I’ve ever read.’ Susanne Abou Ghaida, PhD candidate, University of Glasgow, previously with the Anna Lindh Foundation and UAE Board on Books for Young People; ‘A beautiful, astounding book that daringly, yet seamlessly blends the dreamy world of adolescence with the tough questions it brings. Code Name: Butterfly speaks with intelligence, wit and irony about the injustices and implications of occupation.’ Jehan Helou, Chairman, The International Board on Books for Young People Palestine Chapter.

About the Author
Ahlam Bsharat is a Palestinian writer who was born in 1975 in the village of Tammun in the Jenin province of Northern Palestine, where she grew up. After completing a Master’s Degree in Arabic Literature at An-Najah National University in Nablus, she worked as a teacher for several years, and at present commutes between Tammun and Ramallah, where she works for the Ministry of Culture. Besides poetry, picture books, short stories, novels, and memoirs, she has written a number of television and radio scripts.Her books have received many awards and recommendations. Ismee Alharakee Farasha (translated into the English as Code Name: Butterfly) was included in the IBBY Honor List for 2012, a biennial selection of outstanding, recently published books from more than seventy countries. The book was also the runner up for the Etisalat Award For Children’s Arabic Literature. The author presented at the Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai in March 2016. Bsharat has been active in numerous cultural forums, and her craft has taken her to Belgium and France, where she was artist in residence. She has also led many creative writing workshops for children and adults.

Additional information

Number of pages

110 pages




Neem Tree Press Limited (27 May 2016)

Product Dimensions

13 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm


Ahlam Bsharat


Nancy Roberts






Arabic, English


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