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Saffron Ice Cream

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  503 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Rashin is excited about her first visit to the beach in her family's new home. On the way there, she remembers what beach trips were like in Iran, the beautiful Caspian Sea, the Persian music, and most of all, the saffron ice cream she shared with her best friend, Azadeh. But there are wonderful things in this new place as well -- a subway train, exciting music... and mayb ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  503 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Jun 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is where hate stems from. In a time like this, where anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric are taking main-stage we have a book like this to further imply that Muslims are unhappy and that their culture is backwards. To top it off, the women in hijab are dressed in all black and are illustrated to invoke fear. What is this teaching our children? What is this teaching children who are NOT from a Muslim or Iranian background? That ALL that Iranian or Muslim culture consists of is "rules"? Ye ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidstuff
Interesting tale of a young girl's first trip to Coney Island. She can't help comparing her visit to the trips she made to the beach while living in Iran. From her we learn that things are the same, yet different. I liked the author's happy illustrations.


Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful peek into the immigrant experience (particularly the Muslim experience) through the eyes of an inquisitive child!
Alex  Baugh
Rashin and her family are heading to the beach at Coney Island for the first time since moving from Iran to Brooklyn, NY. On the subway ride, Rashin reminisces about what a day of swimming in the Caspian Sea was like for her family, from the halim her mother made for breakfast, to driving in her father's old car and listening to Persian music. In Iran, the beach was divided by a large curtain - men and boys on one side, women and girls on the other, and the beach was patrolled by burka-clad wome ...more
Books are Love
Jun 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
#diversity does not justify degradation of a faith. The images of women wearing Hijab look absolutely frightening and perpetuate an already growing Islamophobia into our youngest minds. This was a callous misstep on the part of the publishers seeking to promote diversity.
Panda Incognito
This book is by an Iranian immigrant, and conveys a little girl's experience as she fondly remembers trips to the Caspian Sea and enjoys a day at Coney Island with her family. The text and illustrations are both excellent, but the book conveys a stereotyped, negative image towards women in traditional Muslim dress. Every time they appear, the book shows them frowning, strictly enforcing the rules, and looking intimidating and scary. Perhaps this was the author's perspective or experience as a ch ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I thought this was a cute story, but the beach guards at the Iranian beach look like prison guards. They have grouchy faces, and seem scary. In the last spread, it looks like they're following Rashin to New York to capture her or something. ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Rashin tells a story from her own childhood when she traveled for the first time to an American beach. She remembers beach trips when her family used to live in Iran. They took a car, stopping for a picnic lunch along the way. In America, the subway will take them to Coney Island. In Iran, there were strict beach rules. Women and girls swam separately from the men and boys. Her favorite memory was a day when little boys peeped into the women’s section and the ensuing chaos. In America, even the ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Kheiriyeh, Rashin Saffron Ice Cream. PICTURE BOOK. Arthur A. Levine (Scholastic), 2018. $18. 9781338150520.

Rashin is on her first trip to an American beach with her family. She remembers what it was like to go to the beach in her home country of Iran, with its separate beaches for men and women and the sweet taste of saffron ice cream. Brooklyn doesn’t have saffron ice cream, but it does have saffron crunch. And everybody is on the beach together, including a new friend.

What perfect timing for a
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those Looking for Picture-Books About the Immigrant Experience, or Featuring Iranian-Americans
Newly arrived in New York City with her Iranian immigrant family, a young girl named Rashin is excited for her first trip to an American beach. She has wonderful memories of going to the beach in Iran, on the Caspian Sea, and wonders what it will be like at Coney Island. In Iran there were separate sections of the beach for men and women, and a wonderful saffron ice cream that Rashin and her best friend enjoyed. What would the rules be in America, and would there be saffron ice cream? Although t ...more
Rashin and her family spend a day at the beach, but not just any beach. They travel to crowded Coney Island. Even though Rashin is excited about the adventure, she is also reminded of what it was like to go to the beach back home in Iran. As it turns out, there are many differences such as segregated areas, one for men and one for women, but there are also some similarities. To her delight, she can buy an ice cream cone, but to her disappointment, there is no saffron flavor for sale. A friendly ...more
*I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher through my district library services*

I'm a little torn about this book. The illustrations are vibrant and lovely, and I like that the author included Arabic in the illustrations along with the peek into a child's reminiscence about childhood experiences in another land. However, in reading other reviews, I realized how negatively Muslim women are represented. The beach guards appear to be scary and mean, and I don't understand why th
Aliza Werner
What a wonderful glimpse into Rashin's culture and home, as well as her experience after immigrating to the US. A narrative in #OwnVoices to provide windows for our young readers. ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A cute story but as others have mentioned, what's with the angry women? I don't understand the images on a couple of pages. ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
The only abaya wearing women are shown in every illustration to be angry and threatening.. boo. This only strengthens stereotypes.
Ana DeLoreto
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
Saffron Ice Cream offers readers a glimpse into the immigration experience through the eyes of a young, curious child. The main character follows her family from Iran to Brooklyn, NY and takes the reader through a what a day in New York is like. She goes on different adventures and meets new people that are very different from her home town.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Unusual picture book contrasting 2 trips to the beach - one to the Caspian Sea in Rashin's birth home, Iran, and the other to Coney Island in her new home in the US. Based on the author's own experience, this is an interesting peek at both the differences and the commonalities of a trip to the beach in 2 very different cultures.

I have mixed feelings as I like the premise and the story but I think a lot of young readers are going to need some explanation about Iran's gender-segregated beach and
Miss Sarah
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved the sentiment and diversity in this book. A young girl in New York City is headed to the beach for the first time with her family and thinks back to other times they have headed to the beach in their country and the rules at that beach. Elementary and up
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Colorful picture book illustrating the differences and similarities of the beaches in Iran and America. Would be fun for a summer-themed storytime for PreK.
RaisingReal Readers
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I read about 20 pictures books at #nErDcampMI yesterday and of all, this was my favorite. Rashin is a young girl who shares her fun (and funny) memories about visiting the Caspian Sea in Iran as she makes her way to her first Coney Island beach experience in her new country. While there are many new stories of refugees in picture books, middle grade, and young adult coming out, many are only focusing on the extreme hardships. And while I'm not undervaluing this importance of showing our children ...more
Becky B
A little girl, Rashin, from Iran who now lives in Brooklyn is excited about going to the beach at Coney Island. She shares memories of going to the beach in Iran on the Caspian Sea and what that was like, and then shares her new experience of going to the beach in the States. She misses some things but enjoys new things too.

I have never heard what an Iranian beach is like before so this was an eye-opening cultural experience. I like that Rashin found things she liked at both beaches, and the way
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: k-3rd grade
Current life illustrations fill the pages while memories of life in Iran have a border of brown (sand-colored?) paper. Except the spread with Rashin tasting her ice cream in the US has that border with a slightly dream-like with a background of blue sky, clouds and flowers. And another bordered spread shows Rashin's two lives, with Iran and the Islamic beach guards on one side, coming with Rashin's head cover as she plays in the water on the US beach. Shapes of waves in Iran echo the window shap ...more
This fascinating picture book lets readers take a peek into another culture and see that there are many more things that we all have in common than things that make people different. Rashin's family has recently moved to Brooklyn, New York from Iran. She is super excited about her family's first trip to the Coney Island Beach. On the way, she remembers her family's beach experiences in Iran. In Iran, the beaches for men and women were separate. But, she enjoyed playing with her best friend and e ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoy the way the illustrations in this book seem like you are seeing the actual works on paper; it also seems like something a child would draw. I think readers would be intrigued by the way the swimming areas are separated in the Caspian Sea. I noticed that there have been very critical reviews saying that this book demonizes Muslims, but I did not see it that way; I saw it from the point of view of the child. Somethings are different and disappointing (like not having s affron ice cream), s ...more
Margaret Boling
7/2/2019 ~ A fascinating look at a summer day in two very different communities (Brooklyn & Iran). Some readers may need a little explanation about the scenes in Iran. The memoir-style story highlights the similarities among peoples. Notice the homage to the Statue of Liberty in the cover illustration.

12/15/2018 ~ Great compare / contrast of going to the beach in Brooklyn (Coney Island) and at the Caspian Sea. Some readers may be confused by the switching between the girl's present experiences (
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
{My thoughts} – Rashin is a sweet little girl from Iran that has recently moved to New York. This book tells the similarities and the differences between a visit to the beach in Iran and in Brooklyn. The story within the pages match nicely with it’s illustrations. I really enjoyed the story a lot and I look forward to reading it to my younger daughters.

I recommend this book for any child, because it will help to teach them cultural differences. I think that every child should learn about cultura
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Immigrant child from Iran remembers going to the beach at the Caspian Sea and compares it with her experience going to Coney Island from Brooklyn. Captures appreciation for new with longing for old, including the experience of loving the ice cream truck but being devastated when it doesn't have saffron flavor (chocolate crunch not so bad, though). Great mentor text and good read aloud before summer to discuss different people's experiences at the beach - or anywhere that was different one place ...more
Barbara Klipper
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This picture book is a charming example of kidlit’s move to make diverse voices available for young people. It is child-centric, focused on the differences in cultures as observed by a young immigrant girl from Iran (i.e. available ice cream flavors) and the making of a new friend in a new home. But, at the same time and with a light and non-didactic touch, the author/illustrator goes deeper, allowing the reader a glimpse into the repressive nature of Iranian society that the family escapes when ...more
Patricia N. McLaughlin
This is such a necessary story to correct misconceptions about Islam, but the narrative structure is confusing. The girl’s tale jumps back and forth between telling about her first trip to an American beach and sharing her memories of visits to beaches in her former homeland, Iran. Perhaps letting her reminisce about swimming in the Caspian Sea while she sits on the beach at Coney Island would have worked better. Colorful but cluttered illustrations don’t help to clarify matters. A third star fo ...more
Juliana Lee
Rashin is from Iran and this is her first visit to an American beach. She reviews all the rules of the Iranian beaches and wonders what the beach at Coney Island will be like. She is excited to find out that there is an ice cream truck just like the one in Iran, sadly this one does not serve saffron ice cream. But then she meets a little girl who recommends another flavor and the two girls become friends. And Rashin learns that the only rules on the American beach are to stay in sight of your pa ...more
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