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The Arabic quilt : an immigrant story
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When her new classmates tease her, Kanzi finds comfort in wrapping up in a quilt from her teita and writing poetry. - (Baker & Taylor)

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. - (WW Norton)

2021 ARAB AMERICAN CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD WINNERChildren's Africana Book Award (CABA) 2021 Honor BookNCSS 2021 Notable Social Studies Book - (WW Norton)

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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 While the intent is good, the repeated message that coming from a different culture makes you "special" feels a bit outdated—especially with Kanzi cast as one of only two students of color in the class.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. Grades 1-3. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

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