Reviewed by Karen Leggett Abouraya
Egyptian-born author Aya Khalil has focused her picture book on immigrant children who may love the traditions of their family and homeland, but seek desperately to fit into their American world. On her first day in third grade in a new school, Kanzi hears teasing behind her back as her mother says, “habibti,” an Arabic term of endearment rather like “sweetie.” A thoughtful teacher provides support, encouraging Kanzi to bring the Egyptian quilt from her grandmother to share with the class. That leads to a class quilt with each student’s name written in Arabic followed by another quilt with names in Japanese. Children — including those initially teasing Kanzi — realize languages are a beautiful thing: “They can truly unite us.” Continue reading on Africa Access.
The Arabic Quilt by Aya Khalil
Published by Tilbury House Publishers on 2020
Genres: Arabic, Education, Immigration and Emigration
Reading Level: Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
Review Source: Africa Access
Also by this author: The Night Before Eid, GREAT BANNED BOOKS BAKE SALE
Publisher's Synopsis: That night, Kanzi wraps herself in the beautiful Arabic quilt her teita (grandma) in Cairo gave her and writes a poem in Arabic about the quilt. Next day her teacher sees the poem and gets the entire class excited about creating a "quilt" (a paper collage) of student names in Arabic. In the end, Kanzi's most treasured reminder of her old home provides a pathway for acceptance in her new one.
This authentic story with beautiful illustrations includes a glossary of Arabic words and a presentation of Arabic letters with their phonetic English equivalents.