Alia Muhammad Baker: The Librarian of Basra

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BASRA, Iraq— Alia Muhammad Baker’s house is full of books. There are books in stacks, books in the cupboards, books bundled into flour sacks like lumpy aid rations. Books…

“Although the library did not allow lending, over the years she often slipped books into the hands of readers and sent them home.

“In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was ‘Read,’ ” she said.”

Her actions were later turned into the children’s books Alia’s Mission and The Librarian of Basra.

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