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Tata's Earrings and Los Aretes de Tata

Project type

Illustrated Children's Book




Houston, Texas

Once, on one of my trips to Lebanon, I saw something so beautiful that it left a mark on me for years to come. My sweet, old mother-in-law was laboring in the kitchen, like any other day, sorting vegetables when she decided to move her veil back. The golden shine of the intricate earrings that she was wearing at that moment suddenly startled me. They looked rather ostentatious on her, yet she, somehow, wore them with such humility and pride that I was left speechless. I remember setting the green beans back on the sieve as a thought passed through: the realization that the beauty of her soul was many times more delightful than those earrings, but just like them, it contrasted graciously with her old clothes, wrinkled face, and white curls. At that very instant, the idea of Tata's Earrings was born. It would take a decade and three kids later for Tata's story to come together and for me to relearn the language of childhood.
In 2015, I again traveled to Lebanon in search of the town that would set the stage for Tata’s Earrings. Two distinct locations quickly stood out: the cities of Saida and Biblos, one a predominantly Muslim town and the other Christian. Their cobbled streets and colorful doors epitomized, in my eyes, the diverse and vibrant Mediterranean culture of that Middle Eastern country.
Finally, two years and many teas later, Tata’s Earrings was published in hopes it would sow a seed of love, compassion, and understanding when most needed.

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