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The Day Of Ahmed's Secret

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  326 ratings  ·  68 reviews
A day in the life of a boy from Cairo. Early reading level. Beautifully illustrated.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published 1991 by Scholastic (first published August 15th 1990)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  326 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Aiysha  Ilyas
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listofbetterment
This book portrays a day in the life of Ahmed which addresses aspects such as his community, culture and the struggles he endures to provide for his family.

The detailed illustrations show the busy life in Cairo and the manual labour the men, women and children are doing. The use of realistic watercolours portray the busy atmosphere and would allow children to understand that in other parts of the world, children lead different lives. Each illustration is carefully depicted which enables the
Mrittika Deb
This book is about a boy named Ahmed, who has a secret to tell his parents. But he has to finish delivering butane gas to all of his customers for the day before he can go home. As we wait eagerly for the revelation of Ahmed's secret, we get to see a typical working day of his life. Spending an entire day with him, we learn about him, his family members and other children who are also working to help their parents. The fluid prose and photo-realistic illustrations bring the story in life. It ...more
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-eastern
Ahmed is a young boy who rides his donkey cart through the streets and alleys of Cairo Egypt. He is helping his family earn money by delivering cooking fuel to people. This is a hard job and his father can no longer lift the heavy containers. As Ahmed travels the city, he is carrying a secret that is "like a friend to me."

Ahmed's secret is not revealed until the end of the book. The reader follows Ahmed through the noisy streets of Cairo anticipating what his secret might be. The book paints a
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a lovely tale for when you might be studying Egypt (which is what my first graders are doing), human rights, empathy and other social related issues. Great illustrations and great story.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Beautiful watercolor paintings help tell the story visually.
Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence H. Parry, Judith Heide Gilliland, illustrated by Ted Lewin follows a young boy delivering butane gas to customers in his city, as he saves a special secret to share with his family in the evening.

Lewin's detailed watercolor illustrations show the hustle and bustle of Cairo, Egypt. One and two pages spreads focus on Ahmed, his customers and the city. My favorite images are crowded streets, sounds, Hassan's treat, old woman, caravan, rosewater man, and last three
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This did not end at all as I had imagined. In fact, it took so long to get to Ahmed's actual secret that I almost forgot what the story was about. Although the illustrations were quite vibrant and lively, the text in this story did not quite measure up. I really enjoyed how many colors were used and how crowded each page looked, allowing the watercolors to bleed into one another and capture the entire scene. However, for such vivid and busy illustrations, I had expected equally intense and ...more
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this book during my second placement and I find it a very stimulating resource for descriptive writing. The beautifully colourful and vivid pictures in the book can be used for creating descriptive word banks; you can also explore the pictures to make the children come up with similes and metaphors which they don’t use very often in their writing. Furthermore, it’s very easy to arrange a drama/ role-play activity based on the book as all you need to do is to gather some bowls and ...more
I liked this much better than the other Parry picturebook in the list. This was a really well done story with a wonderful main character who is just a really great kid. The illustrations completely submerge the reader in the city Cairo (wish we'd know where we were a bit earlier, though), and the descriptions of the sounds of the city and the daily work of the little boy as well as his interactions with other people create a very full and clear image of the world he inhabits. The illustrations ...more
"The Day of Ahmed's Secret" is a great story about a little boy named Ahmed. He lives in the city of Cairo and works as a butagaz boy. He takes the reader on a journey throughout his day, but he has a little secret to tell. He wants to tell his family the secret when he gets home. He explains the many ways that the city is a part of who he is. After he gets home, he shows his parents that he can write his name!(His secret).
As a teacher, I could use this book to teach about predicitons by using
I read this book as part of my degree and remember enjoying it back then. Now, I can see how well written it is. Not only does it give you a glimpse of life in Cairo but it is done intrinsically, the landscape; its people and culture and not handed to you on a platter but is there you for you peruse and glimpse and absorb. So often these books want to shove cultural signifiers down your throat and doing this explicitly can actually have an abrasive effect on the reading. Here, instead, we have a ...more
Najat Ahdaya
The Day of Ahmed's secret is a story about an Egyptian boy named Ahmed who delivers gasoline cylinders to people's homes throughout the city. He has took on this job so his father does not have to. Throughout the book Ahmed keeps talking about this secret that he cannot wait to share with his family, but only after he has finished his work for the day. The language in this book is so descriptive and I feel would be a great book to use for text talk. It uses a lot of personification and ...more
This book is over 20 years old, before 9-11, published a bit after the Gulf War. The story shows a young boy, Ahmed, living and working in Cairo. He pulls a cart and delivers “Butagaz”, gas canisters used to heat stoves. I don’t know how accurate the book is to today, but the beautifully colorful and detailed illustrations show an interesting and showy city, although we only see people working with their carts, no cars. It will be a good book for children to see, perhaps read together in order ...more
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Such a lovely and sweet book.
The illustrations - paintings rather - are striking. They capture our eternal city beautifully through the colours, the details and the expressions of people's faces. It looks at Cairo through the eyes of a little boy. You don't see the struggle - only pride at working and helping his family; you don't hear noise - only sounds; you don't see chaos - only colours; and a long deep-rooted history that spans centuries.
A book I would strongly recommend to anyone who has
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Heide and Judith Gilliland, published 1990.
Genre: Fiction
Format Picture Book
Plot Summary: This story follows the daily life of a young boy as he makes his deliveries in Cairo and the places and people he interacts with along the way. It also discusses the pride he feels over the secret he carries and how excited he is to share it with his family.
Considerations: None.
Review Citation: Publisher's Weekly, August 1990.
Selection Source: Charlotte Huck's
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: k-fic-cultural
What a beautiful introduction to Cairo! I'll use this with the kids when they are about six-years-old and learning to read and write. Another plus: This portrays a boy who works and doesn't have time to play, which addresses one of my pet peeves. All too many kids think that time is theirs to fill, even resenting school and grumbling about visits to elderly family members. They'd have a fit if they had to spend the day working and then turn over their earning to their parents.
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gentle, touching story against a backdrop that must be rather exotic for most english speaking readers. Ted Lewin's illustrations, which we already knew from the equally stunning Puffling Patrol are truly remarkable, and worth picking this book up in itself.
Lierin Patterson
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
As you read through the book you get to see the life of this boy and what he gets to do everyday. It's so descriptive and even if there weren't any pictures, you would get to see the words in action. I also love the secret at the end. Every child loves to learn and they get really excited when they can do things by themselves. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Beth Pearson
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think as a whole we don't appreciate all we have, especially the opportunity we have as a society and people to make something of ourselves. This book reminds us of what we really have and that we shouldn't take for granted all that has been given us, especially our education. I will use tis with future students.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry Grodzki
This book is designed for young and old alike. Set in Cairo, Egypt the reader spends the day with young Ahmed as he completes his daily job of delivering gas containers within the city limits of Cairo. The metaphorical language and stunning illustrations help deliver the reader to the buckboard seat on the donkey cart that Ahmed drives.
Shannon Futrell
This is a great book to teach about different cultures. This would be great to discuss with students how easy we have it here in America.
Arundhati Deosthale
This is one of the best books ever written for the literacy activists...I had bought several copies a few years back.I found the last 3 accidently and I am over the moon over the reunion!!
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pictures are exceptional. They seem very 'real' and true to life. I was disappointed by the 'secret' revealed at the end as it is totally unrelated to anything else in the story. It felt forced and contrived and did spoil an otherwise delightful, authentic, wonderful book!
Pamela Powell
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful look at a boy's daily life in Cairo but also the importance of learning. I plan to revolve a lesson around this book!
Beverly Rowls
Tells the story of a young man in an Arab culture on the continent of Africa. Good contrasts with the way Americans are acculturated.
Alison Condliffe
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Picture book that brings Cairo to life. A homage to power of writing and a very engaging main character. Beautiful illustrations that captures a child’s life.
Mary Macedo
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My student was excited that the main character had the same name as his father, Ahmed. My student was also excited to see the Arabic writing on the shops. Personal connection for ELL students.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weh-april
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
The story takes us through a typical day in Ahmed's world. He keeps his secret all day until he can show his family what he can do.
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