Cover Image: The Arabic Quilt

The Arabic Quilt

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Member Reviews

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.


Barnes and Noble:

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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I look forward to adding this book to my back-to-school collection. I love the way language is celebrated.
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Kanzi and her family have just moved to American from Egypt, and while missing her teita (grandmother). Wrapped in her quilt, she writes poetry and worries about her first day of school. When she forgets her lunch, Kanzi’s mother brings it, and her hijab and speaking Arabic spark teasing from the very white girls in Kanzi’s class. Her teacher encourages Kanzi to bring her teita’s quilt to school which sparks a cool, class project of writing everyone’s name in Arabic and creating a bulletin board “quilt.” Learning about Kanzi’s language and culture encourages the children to appreciate Kanzi more, and the project sparks more interest in more languages and culture, too.

I really enjoyed this book. My family is from Lebanon, not Egypt, but the Arabic sparked nostalgia for my own family’s traditions and beloved terms of endearment. This book teaches children a little about the Arabic language, culture, and foods (perhaps the best part of other cultures). It encourages children to accept others and to learn as much about other people as they can, because knowledge sparks empathy and also makes people smarter overall. PS, the illustration is on point!

This one hsa been out since February, so pick it up for your next storytime from your favorite, local bookstore, or see if you can find it on the shelves of your local library.
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I loved reading this amazing story about how one little girl invites her class to experience her culture. It is a wonderful representation of how teachers can include all students and their backgrounds in a classroom.
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This book is absolutely lovely. The text and illustrations are both incredibly appealing, and the story of an Egyptian-American girl learning to accept her bilingual, multicultural identity is authentic and moving. This story is based on the author's experiences as a child, and she convincingly resolves the narrative conflict without making it saccharine or unbelievable. This book is a great choice for schools because of its classroom setting, and families with multicultural backgrounds or interest in learning about other cultural experiences will greatly enjoy this.

Another thing I admire about this book is how well the author incorporates Arabic words into the story without making it difficult for someone who is unfamiliar with the language to read the book aloud. There is a glossary in the back, and the book also mentions some English words which were derived from Arabic. I knew that 'sofa' and 'zero' came from Arabic, but I wasn't aware of the others, and found this very interesting.

This is a great book, and even though I have read a lot of different picture books about immigrant children adjusting to lives in a new school, this is already one of my new favorites.
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Such a wonderful story of Kanzi want to be "American" and fit in with her friends at school, and hide her heritage, and how her teacher shows her, instead, how to share it with others.

So often, when you are an immigrant, or child of an immigrant, you want so hard to be just like everyone else, that you lose sight of what makes you you. 

A gentle story about how even the snotty girl in the class, who looks down on Kanzi, comes around in the end.


Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this picture book. Very touching and relevant story of immigration. Will definitely recommend to others.
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This is a charming story about being proud of who you are and celebrating your heritage.  

Kanzi and her family move from Egypt to America.  When she attends her first day of school her heart's desire is not to be looked upon as different but be similar to all the other kids in her class.  The students start teasing her because she eats different foods at lunch and her language is not American - perfect. 

Feeling sad and ostracized Kanzi goes home and curls up inside a beloved quilt that her grandma (Teita ) made for her.  She writes a poem for her parents in Arabic.  

"Shukran Mama and Baba,
For always encouraging me to be proud
of speaking a different language
and speaking it out loud.  
Languages can unite us together
like a quilt,
So I will aways speak my
languages without guilt. 
I will never be ashamed to speak,
in this language that is so unique.
Bahebek, Mama.
Bahebak, Baba."

The next day at school her wise and creative teacher reads Zanzi's poem and has a brilliant idea.  She encourages the class to make a quilt of their own, one with each student's name written in Arabic.  Zanzi's mother comes to class and both she and her daughter become translators as they transform each child's name from English into Arabic.  The students are excited to see their names magically appear written in another language. In doing so the students discover the beauty, value and fun of speaking another language.   

Molly, the most insistent and insensitive teaser, has a change of heart towards Zanzi and they become friends.  Zanzi's shame turns into pride which is wonderful to behold.  The author includes a glossary of Arabic words spoken in Egyptian dialect and some English words that have developed from Arabic.  I am sure kids will find this component fascinating.... who knew?  The story is about tolerance and acceptance.  It is a positive and uplifting message that will inspire others to be kind, understanding and knowledgeable regarding other races and cultures. 

The illustrations are very well done.  They are colourful and very expressive defining the characters perfectly.  I highly recommend this book.
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I was the daughter of immigrants coming of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I remember cringing at how different my food was from my peers and how — well, alien — my parents were. So The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story really hit home on that level. At the same time, as a teacher, I have many students who themselves the children of immigrants. I like to believe it’s easier now; however, the need for this book tells me it’s not really.

Kanzi, a recent immigrant from Egypt, so desperately wants her classmates to like her; however, on her very first day, a careless student makes Kanzi aware of her “otherness.” Author Aya Khalil pieces together a wonderful story that never overwhelms with its message. It’s as beautiful as the quilt created by Kanzi’s beloved teita (grandma) and Anait Semirdzhayan’s poignant illustrations.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley, Myrick Marketing & Media, and Tilbury House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
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