Scroll down to learn more about:

  • Middle East Book Awards
  • Primary Source Document Collections
  • Recommended Reading for Teachers
  • Additional Resources

Middle East Book Awards

The national Middle East Outreach Council established the Middle East Book Awards in 1999 to recognize books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to understanding of the Middle East.  Books that are nominated for awards are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of a Middle Eastern subject, as well as on their characterization, plot, and appeal for the intended audience. Winners are usually announced in November. For more details and the complete listing of award winners, please visit the Middle East Book Awards website.

Primary Source Document Collections

  • The Avalon Project: A project of the Lillian Goldman Law Library of Yale Law School, this website documents primary sources related to Israel and Palestine. The documents are categorized chronologically.
  • Electronic Middle East Sourcebook: Click the ‘Sourcebook’ tab to navigate the database table. Most documents in this collection have an interesting Preface with pertinent introductory material before the text .EMES is a peer-reviewed electronic publication that seeks to bridge the gap between research and pedagogy in Middle East Studies.  The editors are Camron Michael Amin at The University of Michigan-Dearborn, Benjamin C. Fortna at SOAS, The University of London and Elizabeth B. Frierson at The University of Cincinnati.

Recommended Reading for Teachers

The following books are introductory works recommended by UNC Chapel Hill Faculty for teachers who are interested in knowing more about the Middle East.

coverblock …on the History of the Middle East
-The Modern Middle East: A History | James L. Gelvin, revised edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015): An overview of the making of the Middle East by one of America’s foremost historians of the region.

-A History of the Muslim World to 1405: The Making of a Civilization | Vernon O. Egger (Upper Saddle River, NJ : Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004): A standard textbook on the early history of the Middle East and related regions that is assigned in introductory courses on the subject at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

…on the Politics of the Middle East
-Politics and Society in the Contemporary Middle East | Michele Penner Angrist, editor, 2nd edition (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013): A comprehensive collection of thematic and country-based chapters written by leading scholars on Middle East politics.

-The Arab Uprisings Explained: New Contentious Politics in the Middle East | Marc Lynch, Editor (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014): A set of challenging analyses of the “Arab Spring” uprisings and their aftermath written by leading scholars on Middle East politics.

…on Islam
-Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World | Carl W. Ernst (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003): A readable, non-ideological introduction to the beliefs and practices of Muslims today, written by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s senior Islamic studies professor.

-The Cambridge Companion to American Islam | Juliane Hammer and Omid Safi, editors (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013): An authoritative collection of essays on multiple aspects of Muslim life in the United States, co-edited by Islamic studies professors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University.

-Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations | Michael Sells: This book consists of thirty-five suras, or short passages from the Qur’an. Easily accessible to any college-level reader, these suras are poetic and intensely evocative, beautiful meditations, comparable in many ways to the Psalms of David and other classics of world literature. Click here to learn about the controversy over assigning this as the book for the 2002 UNC Summer Reading Program.

…on Islamic Art and Culture
-Art of the Islamic World: A Resource for Educators | Maryam D. Ekhtiar and Claire Moore, editors (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012). (Online at A beautiful combination of images and lesson plans developed in conjunction with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s re-opening of its outstanding collection of Islamic art.

-Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture | Hisham D. Aidi (New York: Vintage Books, 2014): An engaging exploration of musical influences — including jazz, hip-hop, Afro-pop, Sufi chants, and Andalusian folk music — among Muslims in North Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

If you are interested in reading on a specific topic, please e-mail Director of Outreach, Emma Harver, at with your specific request.

Additional Resources

  • International Children’s Digital Library: This library supports the world’s children in becoming effective members of the global community – who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas — by making the best in children’s literature available online free of charge! The Foundation has built a digital library of outstanding children’s books from around the world.