Cover Image: The Arabic Quilt

The Arabic Quilt

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Member Reviews

I requested and received an e-ARC of this book from Aya Khalil and Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This was a great story about acceptance and understanding that was beautifully told.  I loved learning the Arabic words throughout the story.  I loved watching Kanzi’s growth as she herself went from embarrassment about her culture to pride in her culture as she shared it’s beauty with others.
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The Arabic Quilt is a beautiful story for children that could really be appreciated by all ages. The art is lovely, and the story is well-told. I would gladly add this to my book buying list for a school library, classroom shelf, or personal collection. Lovely work.
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As a teacher, I am always looking for books that celebrate the diverse cultures that make up our school. The Arabic Quilt will be a great book to start off the new school year.
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A story of understanding that being multilingual is an asset and the importance of being true to yourself and culture. Kanzi is new to the school and realizes that fitting in may be harder than she thinks when another student overheard her speaking Arabic to her mother. She cherishes the quilt from her grandmother. Her teacher asks her to bring it to school, which helps her classmates to open their eyes to another culture. This book should be in every classroom and library! Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read and review this picture book!
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Great book about immigration. The format was off for me, though. The pages were out of order in my review copy, other than that a solid good book,
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In the opening of the story we meet Kanzi as she prepares for her first day of third grade at a new school. Her Baba has packed her a Kofta sandwich for lunch which Kanzi wishes were just a plain old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Mama drives her to school singing along to her favorite songs on the Arabic radio, which Kanzi turns down as they approach the school. The morning seems to be going well as Kanzi introduces herself as an Egyptian-American and beams about her love of swimming and writing poetry! Shortly after, Mama shows up with the lunch Kanzi conveniently forgot. The giggles and snickering begins when Mama calls her, "Habibti," which means, "My love," in Arabic. Kanzi begins to cry. Her teacher comforts her, telling her that, "...being bilingual is beautiful." That evening Kanzi makes sure to request a turkey sandwich for her lunch, and finds comfort in her Teita's (Grandmothers) quilt as she writes a poem. 

Children come to school with perceptions and beliefs about others based upon what they have learned and/or observed from the adults around them. We see this most in Kanzi's classmate, Molly, who initiates the teasing and taunting of Kanzi. 

Throughout the week Kanzi slowly begins to settle into her new classroom. When she brings in her Teita's quilt to share, her classmates are very interested and excited wanting to make one of their own! Their teacher thinks that is a wonderful idea and invites Kanzi's Mama in to help with the project. Mama will write everyone's name in Arabic to go on the quilt. When Molly hears this she staunchly states, "Who cares about Arabic? We live in America. My mom says we should only speak English." To which their teacher claps back by writing some words on the board...Algebra, Coffee, Lemon, Sugar. Words that come from the Arabic language! And that snarky look falls right off Molly's face! (I love Kanzi's teacher!)

The classroom quilt comes out beautifully and they hang it up in the hallway right outside their classroom for the whole school to see! Everyone loves the bright colors and all of the names in Arabic...even Molly! 

This book is "A must read for all teachers!" An important book to read on the very first day of class! This story will set the tone in the classroom that everyone is accepted, respected, and valued! That we are here to learn from one another, not to tear one another down! That bullying, teasing, and taunting will not be tolerated. 

Unfourtunately, we cannot control what children are subject to hearing in their households about people of different races, ethnicities, cultures, and religions. But, through reading books such as, "The Arabic Quilt," we can begin to teach children respect, inclusion, and acceptance of everyone!
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Even though I teach high school, I love using children's books to promote different stories and perspectives in the classroom. I am currently building my collection of diverse children's books, and I think this one would definitely go on the list. The illustrations are beautiful, and there are some good lessons/ideas in the story: I think many children are worried about standing out in class, or not fitting in, but the book celebrates how beautiful life is when we have different backgrounds and perspectives. In addition, it teaches acceptance and the importance of being kind. A lovely picture book for all ages.
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"The Arabic Quilt" by Aya Khalil is great for showing students to value who they are. We all may be different but it is our differences that make us who we are. A young girl attends school and brings along an important piece of her family heritage. It inspires the classmates to learn more about the girl and her family. Together, the class embarks on a journey together to share who they are. Recommended for grades 1 - 3.
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I really enjoyed this book for several reasons.  First, I love the use of some Arabic words for the kids to learn.  All children enjoy learning phrases and words in different languages, so this will make the book fun for them.  I also liked the quilt activity that the class made.  As a quilter, media/tech and makerspace teacher, we have done some similar activities in our classroom and this book can be a fun story to read before we introduce quilting.  The included bonus of introducing different cultures and languages is wonderful.  It's important for children to learn about different cultures and this book introduces us to Egyptian foods, clothing, and music, while also sharing cultural similarities as well.  This is the story of a young Egyptian American girl starting a new school, who just wants to just "fit in".  When she "forgets" her lunch at home, her mom brings it to school for her, but because she is wearing different clothing and is speaking a different language a few kids make fun of the girl.  Naturally this opens the door for the teacher to introduce a new lesson, and it grows from there.  Diversity in a library is so important!  Kids want to see their own cultures represented in children's books, and with so few out there, this will make a nice addition to your library.  I will be ordering a copy for our library and I am excited to read it to the kids!  Thank you!
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This is an absolutely beautiful book! A little girl has moved from Egypt, and is teased by the kids in her class when her mom drops off her lunch and speaks to her in Arabic. Little Kanzi is very sad, but when her teacher finds a poem she has written about the quilt she has brought from Egypt, she invites Kanzi to bring it to school. The kids all love the quilt, and Kanzi's mom comes to school to teach them how to write  their names in Arabic and to create a quilt of their names. Kanzi realizes how lucky she is to speak two languages! 

There is much to love about this book. First, teaching kids about another culture, languages and ethnicities is very  important. Second,, the story talking about teasing/bullying and resolving the issue is often a topic in elementary school classroom. I liked the narrative structure, the pictures, and descriptions.  I recommend this book for elementary school children who are working on telling stories, learning about different cultures and language, and working on resolving problems.

Thank you to Netgalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A beautiful story about immigration, diversity and helping children to feel included when moving to someplace new. This book could be great inspiration for elementary classroom curriculum.
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This is a poignant, sweet, ultimately uplifting story of a girl adjusting to a new school. As if that weren't challenging enough, Kanzi and her family are Egyptian immigrants. Kanzi encounters some students who are unkind about her language and food. But her teacher connects with Kanzi through her poetry and her special blanket, handmade by her grandmother back in Egypt. Together with Kanzi's mother, they help Kanzi's class to understand their similarities and appreciate the differences, and they even inspire another class.

Khalil gently shows us the difficulties immigrant children can endure and how to connect with your new surroundings. I also appreciated the peeks into Kanzi's home life and the balancing act of American customs and Egyptian customs. While definitely a message story, "The Arabic Quilt" was fun to read and the art was lovely to look at. This would be a good book for 4 year old children and older. It can be enjoyed on its own or as the starting point for conversations around immigration, friendships, cultures other than our own, and meeting challenges.
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This is a story about an Egyptian-American girl at a new school. Embarrassed by her language (and her lunch), she finds herself not quite fitting in. But after a project at school where everyone makes a quilt featuring their names written in Arabic, the kids learn that knowing more than one language can be a valuable skill.

The theme and message aren't quite as focussed as I would like. Is it a book about Kanzi's grandmother's quilt? Is it a book about bullying? Racism? Spicy meatballs? There's quite a bit thrown in here, and I'm not sure the message gets across as well as it could.

But the illustrations are cute, and the overall theme about the value of diversity is nice. Those looking for picture books about the immigrant experience might like this book.
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This book is filled with beautiful illustrations and an important story. It addresses the desire to fit in and still maintain the culture that is important to the individual while taking into consideration the discrimination they may face. Kanzi's teacher also highlights how many English words come from other languages, and how someone can be American and speak languages other than English. Every classroom needs this book.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The Arabic Quilt
By: Aya Khalil and Anait Semiradzhyan
5.0 / 5.0

	The colors and art style is what drew me to this picture book. The colors were so vibrant and were popping off the cover. The storyline just sealed the deal that I had to read this picture book. I love how it was about an immigrant child and not the family as a whole. It can be a nice way to comfort the children from an immigrant family who feel like they are living in two individual families.
	The teacher is the hero of the story. Without her then Kanzi wouldn’t have been able to feel like she fit in. I loved how because her class made a quilt that the other teachers wanted to do it with theirs to show off how diverse all their students are. The love and peace you felt as you read further on was amazing. The change you see in Molly is great too. I hope more children read this and see how great it is to have all these different cultures in their classrooms.
	I highly recommend this picture book to be read during a storytime where there are immigrant children. Then afterwards you can show off the different cultures from the different families. The glossary of terms at the end also help understand the language from the novel. I cannot say enough great things about this novel. I will definitely recommend this title to people.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arabic-Quilt-Immigrant-Story/dp/0884487547/ref=sr_1_1?crid=RLIZG9GAIJUQ&dchild=1&keywords=the+arabic+quilt&qid=1591300546&sprefix=the+arabic+%2Caps%2C151&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-arabic-quilt-aya-khalil/1131983222?ean=9780884487548


This review will appear on my blog on July 6, 2020
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Beautiful story about finding your inner voice and being proud of your ability to speak two languages. This will be a great read aloud to help build classroom community! Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for the advanced copy!
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My favorite thing about this book is the inclusion of Arabic words throughout. The text flows naturally between languages the way many of our students speak! I also appreciate the glossary at the back of the book.
My heart melted when a second classroom made a quilt inspired by another immigrant's background and language. Very sweet!
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I personally love picture books that delve into a culture not my own. I think the best way to teach children empathy and tolerance is to expose them to as many different types of people as possible. I also think it is incredibly important for children to see themselves in the stories they are being told, and I think this book would be great for both. I also like that it shows that it is not easy to be different, but that the things that make us different are the best part of us.
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I loved the truth and realness behind this story and where it stems from. I do wish there were explanations throughout the book about what the words in arabic meant, but it was explained at the ending. I think this is a beautiful perspective that needs light shed on a dark situation more until people fully understand. Great lesson overral and the girls loved the quilt idea and want to make their own!
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A timely book not just about celebrating differences or your background—THE ARABIC QUILT, in my view, also encourages readers to do so despite intolerance and discrimination. Some may be shocked by the way one particular classmate interacts with Kanzi, and how she initially feels the need to conform. Those of us who were teased in our youth for speaking a language other than English, or bringing “unfamiliar” food for lunch will recognize this immediately. The facial expressions are so wonderfully rendered by Ms, Semirdzhyan that I also cringed in recognition. I appreciate that Ms. Khalil didn’t gloss over the meanness that even the youngest of us can exhibit, or the incredible pressure at any age. to fit in. While not always the case with school, Kanzi finds a supportive and creative teacher, who impresses upon her young students that we don’t have to completely understand another’s differences in order to appreciate them.
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