The Turtle of Michigan: A Novel (Paperback)

The Turtle of Michigan: A Novel By Naomi Shihab Nye Cover Image

The Turtle of Michigan: A Novel (Paperback)

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“Celebrates the power of human connections.”School Library Journal (starred review)

“Humorous, sensitive, and poignant.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The stand-alone companion to National Book Award Finalist and beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s The Turtle of Oman. The Turtle of Michigan is a deft and accessible novel that follows a young boy named Aref as he travels from Muscat, Oman, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and adjusts to a new life and a new school in the United States. A wonderful pick for young middle grade readers and fans of Kevin Henkes, Erin Entrada Kelly, and Meg Medina.

Aref is excited for his journey from Oman to the United States, where he will reunite with his father in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Aref makes a friend on an airplane, wonders what Michigan will be like, and starts school in the United States. While he does miss his grandfather, his Sidi, Aref knows that his home in Oman will always be waiting for him.

Award-winning author Naomi Shihab Nye’s highly anticipated sequel to The Turtle of Oman explores immigration, family, and what it means to feel at home. Carrying a suitcase and memories of Oman, Aref experiences the excitement and nervousness that accompany moving to a new home and new school. The Turtle of Michigan is a great choice for reading aloud as well as a perfect read-alone for younger middle grade readers.

Illustrated in black-and-white throughout.


Naomi Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father was a Palestinian refugee and her mother an American of German and Swiss descent, and she spent her adolescence in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. She earned her BA from Trinity University in San Antonio. Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent more than forty years traveling the country and the world, leading writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages.

Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/or editor of more than thirty books. Her books of poetry for adults and young people include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (a finalist for the National Book Award); A Maze Me: Poems for Girls; Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners; Honeybee (winner of the Arab American Book Award); Cast Away: Poems of Our Time (one of the Washington Post’s best books of 2020); Come with Me: Poems for a Journey; and Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems. Her other volumes of poetry include Red Suitcase; Words Under the Words; Fuel; Transfer; You & Yours; Mint Snowball; and The Tiny Journalist. Her collections of essays include Never in a Hurry and I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay?: Tales of Driving and Being Driven.

Naomi Shihab Nye has edited nine acclaimed poetry anthologies, including This Same Sky: Poems from Around the World; The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems from the Middle East; Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25; and What Have You Lost? Her picture books include Sitti’s Secrets, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, and her acclaimed fiction includes Habibi; The Turtle of Oman (winner of the Middle East Book Award) and its sequel, The Turtle of Michigan (honorable mention for the Arab American Book Award).

Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, the Robert Creeley Award, and "The Betty," from Poets House, for service to poetry, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. In 2011 Nye won the Golden Rose Award given by the New England Poetry Club, the oldest poetry-reading series in the country. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac. She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials, including The Language of Life with Bill Moyers, and she also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. She has been affiliated with the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin for twenty years and served as poetry editor at the Texas Observer for twenty years. In 2019–20 she was the poetry editor for the New York Times Magazine. She is Chancellor Emeritus for the Academy of American Poets and laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, and in 2017 the American Library Association presented Naomi Shihab Nye with the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. In 2018 the Texas Institute of Letters named her the winner of the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was named the 2019–21 Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. In 2020 she was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Book Critics Circle. In 2021 she was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Naomi Shihab Nye is professor of creative writing-poetry at Texas State University.


Product Details ISBN: 9780063014176
ISBN-10: 0063014173
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: March 14th, 2023
Pages: 336
Language: English

“Transplanted from Oman to Michigan, an Arab boy adjusts to his new life while missing his beloved grandfather in this stand-alone companion to The Turtle of Oman. . . . Nye’s inimitable, poetic prose beautifully captures Aref’s emotions as he meets the challenges of international travel and adjusting to a new community and culture while worrying about Sidi. Seamlessly continuing Aref’s story but accessible to new readers, this novel deftly explores the meaning of home. . . . A humorous, sensitive, and poignant family-centered take on moving to a new country.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Aref Al-Amri has finally packed his suitcase and is journeying from Oman to Michigan in this charming follow-up to Nye’s The Turtle of Oman. . . . Aref is just as curious, insightful, and enthusiastic as he was in the previous book, and after a ­period of adjustment, he begins to feel quite at home. If only his beloved grandfather, Sidi, would come to visit, then everything would be perfect. Nye’s imagery brings the snows and forests of Michigan to vivid life, and her characters nearly leap off the page with authenticity.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

“This long-awaited follow-up to The Turtle of Oman reunites readers with an eight-year-old boy named Aref from Oman. . . . This very gentle read captures Aref’s experiences in his new town of Ann Arbor, including as he attends his new, inclusive school. . . . Enjoyable as a standalone, this accessible read offers a comfortingly warm, joyful view of moving.” — Booklist

“Eight-year-old Aref embarks on a trip with his mother to reunite with his father in Ann Arbor. Sad to leave Oman but now excited to go to Michigan, Aref leans into his surprising lack of nerves, adjusting to his new life with enthusiasm. . . . The book is a pleasingly gentle episodic series following Aref’s mostly problem-free entry into his new life, focusing on the joy and adventure of a relocation. . . . The tone is light and the narration sprightly, capturing Aref’s . . . curiosity about the world around him.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books