Born to a Palestinian father and American mother, the best-selling poet spent her high school years in Ramallah, Jerusalem, as well as San Antonio, Texas. Her first collection of poems, “Different Ways to Pray,” celebrated the similarities and differences of cultures – a recurring theme in her work.
The Middle East always close to her heart, Shihab Nye came out with a poetry collection called “19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East.” With her collection of stories, “Habibi,” she gave an autobiographical account of an Arab-American teenager who moves to Jerusalem in the 1970s.
Elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2010, her works include Red Suitcase, Fuel, and This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the world.
Also a popular children’s author, Shihab Nye told a crowd at a 2008 book signing, “When we are little, we are all poets,” she noted, adding that her son was a wonderful poet when he was small. Once while the two were using a computer he told her, “Today is faded, tomorrow is boldface.” Nye also told a story about the time her son wanted sugar-coated cereal 15 minutes before dinner. When she refused, he made a large sign which said, “Love has failed.” Nye said she laughed so hard, she let him have a bowl of cereal before dinner.