By: Isra Moussaoui (YES 2019-2020, Tunisia, placed by AFS-USA in Bainbridge Island, WA)
Over the past two years, Isra has had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with her host mom, Beth Bacon, who is a children's book writer. Together, they embarked on a project to capture her experiences as an 8-year-old girl amidst the Tunisian Revolution and Arab Spring in the format of a book.
The idea for this book sprouted during the early days of quarantine in the United States when both Beth and Isra engaged in frequent conversations about history, a topic which is fascinating to both. As Isra recounted the captivating and often unbelievable stories from her childhood during the revolution, they realized that this was a story that needed to be shared with the world. Their primary objective throughout this journey has been to present an honest and factually accurate account of the revolution, while also providing the unique perspective of a young Tunisian child.
Excited about the potential impact it could have, they reached out to numerous book agencies to gauge their interest. After careful consideration, they decided to collaborate with Penguin Random House, a renowned Anglo-American multinational conglomerate publishing company. This partnership aims to bring their story about Tunisia to the American book market, providing readers with a glimpse into the revolutionary spirit and vibrant life of her home country. They have recently completed the final draft of the story. Currently, their focus lies in finding an illustrator who can effectively capture the essence of Tunisia as seen through the eyes of Tunisians themselves—an embodiment of the revolution and the country's lively nature.
Reflecting on this incredible journey, Isra is grateful for the opportunities that have come her way, particularly her participation in the program granted her a year abroad full of fulfillment and growth. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for literature and unlocked the chance to share her unique story. Without that pivotal experience, this book would have remained an untold tale.