Discovering a whole new world of reading in the West Bank

22nd August 2018 | Blog

When Yousef, a university student from Hebron in the West Bank, was younger, he didn’t see the value in reading for pleasure. But all that changed when his sister brought home a novel she was studying.

Yousef told us how that book opened him up to a whole new world of reading – and even set the course for his university career:


As there were few people who are interested in reading in my society, or at least the people I knew, I never thought about reading a book out of my school curriculum. I was underestimating the value of the books. But all of this changed two years ago when my sister brought a book to make a presentation about at her university. Luckily I decided to read that book. Its name was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


This book was the first novel I had ever read. Reading it made a breakthrough in my life; it opened the door for a new world full of books and new friends who share a passion for reading. Also, it influenced me to search for more books to read in different categories.

When I first started reading it, I found a strange and peculiar enjoyment. I spent hours and hours reading, it made me delight more than most of other activities. I never imagined that a book could really change the life of a person, change the way he thinks and how he acts in life’s situations.

Inside illustrations from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

This novel presented the beauty of the sea and its creatures; it takes you to places you never imagined and makes you feel like you are able to travel the world while you are sitting on your couch reading. In addition, it gives you the ability to look at things from different perspectives depending on the character you are reading about. I found that if you read about the same character for a long time you may unconsciously act like them.

After reading this novel, the way I looked at things changed. I started to see books as a hidden treasure needs that someone to explore. It was the gate for a whole new world.

At that time, I decided to study English at university. Now, I am at university and I am studying English literature. This is my first year.


You may also like

University student Lina in the West Bank fell in love with reading when she discovered how books can introduce you to new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Read more >
Find out more about our work with partners to support readers of all ages in the West Bank and Gaza.
Read more >
18-year-old John grew up in Nairobi's Mathare slum. When he discovered his local library, he read all sorts of books but there was one in particular which he found so inspiring it kept him going back again and again.
Read more >