The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story
The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story

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Annotation: Kanzi's family has moved from Egypt to America, and on her first day in a new school, what she wants more than anything is to fit in. In this story based on the author's own childhood experience, Kanzi's most treasured reminder of her old home provide s a pathway for acceptance in her new one.
Catalog Number: #212256
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Tilbury House
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Semirdzhayan, Anait,
Pages: 36
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-88448-754-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-02640-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-88448-754-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-02640-7
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2019954510
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Kanzi is the new girl in third grade, and as an Egyptian American, she's uncomfortable displaying her cultural differences. When the teacher announces a class project to make a quilt out of every student's name written in Arabic, Kanzi's classmate responds, "We live in America. My mom says we should only speak English." Following a lesson in etymology and an experience of classroom-bonding over Arabic, all racist views are recanted, and Kanzi feels pride in her culture. Khalil tells an earnest story, leaning on dense dialogue peppered with Arabic phrases (defined in the back matter), that draws on her own childhood as an Egyptian immigrant. While the intent is good, the repeated message that coming from a different culture makes you "special" feels a bit outdated pecially with Kanzi cast as one of only two students of color in the class. Stilted dialogue ("Aren't languages a beautiful thing? They can truly unite us!'") gets in the way of an otherwise helpful window into the experience of immigrant children, aided by some colorful flourishes by Semirdzhyan.
School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 2 Kanzi, a young Egyptian immigrant, is nervous about looking different on the first day of her new school. When Kanzi's classmates tease her about her native language, her teacher helps Kanzi and her classmates learn the value of being bilingual and the beauty of being different through a creative class project: a paper collage quilt with all the students' names written on it in Arabic. The story highlights the role of a supportive and creative teacher and the importance of instilling acceptance in children. "My mom says we should only speak English," says Molly, one of the students. In response, the teacher writes the words algebra , coffee , lemon , and sugar on the board as an example to show the students how many languages share the same origin and that "knowing different languages will make the world a friendlier place." The story ends with a powerful poem with a compelling message of taking pride in one's mother tongue. The author includes a glossary of Arabic words with phonetics and their meaning in English. VERDICT A timely, heartwarming story with expressive, vibrant illustrations that complement the text. This story will boost immigrant children's morale and teach others to be more open-minded. Noureen Qadir-Jafar, Syosset Library, NY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (3/1/19)
School Library Journal (3/1/20)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3
Lexile: 710L

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.


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