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The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story

4.93  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  19 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 36 pages
Expected publication: February 18th 2020 by Tilbury House Publishers
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Average rating 4.93  · 
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Miss Amy
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This arc from Tilbury House, to be released Feb. 4, 2020, shares a very relevant story of immigration, acceptance, differences, language, and a teacher encouraging that diversity by embracing each other's languages. It is a gift of coming together to celebrate their differences and inspire others. The expression and feeling within the illustrations compliments the story beautifully.
Kirstie Myvett
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's the first day of school and Kanzi must learn to balance this new American way of life with her Egyptian-American life. With the support of her mother, teacher and Teita's quilt, she is able to share her heritage with her classmates - bridging a gap across races and cultures. This story is a reminder that differences do not make us "un-American" but are what make us uniquely Americans. We are a melting pot of different languages, cultures, traditions and that's the beauty of "The Arabic ...more
Rameela (Star)
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This was literally so cute and heartwarming and wholesome. Definitely would recommend this to anyone who wants to read something about a young girl who isn't afraid of her culture and appreciate diversity. I would definitely want to add this to my collection and share this with children everywhere!
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
On her first day of school in America, Kanzi’s goal is to fit in. And she believes that means not being different. She even wishes her baba would pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her lunch instead of her favorite – a kofta sandwich. When Mama brings her forgotten lunchbox, kids laugh at Mama’s use of the Arabic word “Habibti.” However, Kanzi’s teacher is an ally, and she reminds Kanzi of the beauty and value of being bilingual. And Kanzi finds comfort in a cherished quilt from her ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful story about appreciating other languages and cultures.

When Kanzi moves to a new town with her Mama and Baba, she is afraid of being different as an Egyptian-american. But when one girl makes fun of her mama for speaking Arabic, Kanzi is ready to share who she is instead of hiding. She brings the quilt her teita made for her back in Egypt to school, and soon, her show and tell turns into an inclusive activity of making their own class quilt out of paper.

The story is simple and
Michael Armstrong
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful and timely story about inclusion and acceptance told from the perspective of a young immigrant girl. Rich with culture and kid-relatable themes, TAQ is a sweet, thoughtful, and personal. A must-have for any parent interested in broadening their child's horizons.
Shifa Safadi
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melowmedia210 Media210
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book review ( Must read) “The Arabic Quilt”
The story is about a little girl who travels to a different country. ( I won’t say the name because I do not want to spoil the book). Rate
When I started reading the book I loved the plot a lot, The story has a good taste of elements. The part I love in this book is the word “ Quilt” the author is showing about her life when she came to the United States and how people who lived around her area treated her. This book must be read by
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When Kanzi starts at a new school, she is worried about fitting in, but learns that you don’t have to be the same as everyone else to have a place in the class (or the world). As a teacher, I confess that I loved the supportive role the teacher played and how she facilitated learning without lecturing. This book had other highlights for me: the obviously loving, shared parenting, and that Kanzi expresses herself through poetry (making me think of the poet Sara Abou Rashed). My only little ...more
Annette Schottenfeld
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Aya Khalil’s story is an important one that will have young readers wanting to embrace other children who come from different backgrounds. Young Kanzi, an Egyptian-American, wants to fit in with her new classmates. In the end, something unique helps her realize that her heritage is part of what makes her special. Anait Semirdzhyan’s beautiful and expressive illustrations add another layer to this must read.
Rabiah Lumbard
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Khalil has penned an absolutely adorable book that is both timely and timeless. Young Kanzi is a thoughtful girl who loves to swim and write poetry. However, after moving to a new town she only wants to fit in and begins to hide her Egyptian American identity. As the pages turn, however, she comes to not only love her beautiful culture and the language of her family (Arabic), but to share it proudly. A wonderful, intergenerational story about overcoming our doubts, standing tall, making new ...more
Melati Lum
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story for early readers about embracing your heritage and the value of sharing stories amongst those around you. Kanzi is an Egyptian-American and hasn't yet learnt how to balance her two cultures. She's afraid of being different and a little ashamed about the Arabic side of her heritage. With the support of her teacher, family, and friends, Kanzi learns to be proud of her background and who she is as a person. A delightful story for young readers.
Shaheena Chowdhury
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A heart-warming story about an immigrant child's experience of bullying and acceptance. Parents and teachers can learn a few things from Mrs. Haugen's approach to bullying. The class quilt project is a beautiful lesson in diversity. The language of the book is easy to follow and the neat illustrations breathe life into the story. I love how the author provides glimpses of Egyptian culture!
Laura Perdew
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THE ARABIC QUILT is such an important story about celebrating and accepting differences. Khalil puts the reader in Kanzi's shoes, allowing us to experience the emotions she struggles with because she is different from her classmates but ultimately embracing and being proud of her heritage. The story also invites the reader into Kanzi's culture - I learned a lot!
Shireen Hakim
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Featured in my Book Riot post on books written by women of colour.
Reem Faruqi
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Arabic Quilt is a lovely story of celebrating one's differences. When Kanzi's mother shows up at her school to deliver her lunchbox, Kanzi feels embarrassed of her mom's Arabic. However, with her teacher's help, Kanzi learns that being bilingual is special. Feeling recognized and encouraged by her teacher, Kanzi gains the courage to bring in a quilt that her Arabic-speaking aunt makes. By sharing her quilt with her class, she finds a way to not only introduce her Arab culture and heritage, ...more
Nanette Heffernan
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Although this is an immigrant story it easily applies to any child who has been the “new kid.” When a young girl (Kanzi) and her family move from Egypt to America, she finds it difficult to make friends and fit in. Everything about her is different. After a classmate teases Kanzi for speaking in her native language, the teacher encourages her to hold her head high and share her culture. The end result is a lesson in acceptance we can all benefit from.
Sharon Giltrow
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story about sharing another culture and it's language. Very powerful the way that the group project of making a quilt united the class. The exquisite illustrations depict the real to life characters.
Aya Khalil
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote The Arabic Quilt from my heart. It's based on true events from my childhood when I immigrated to the US from Egypt when I was one years old. Growing up, I still remember the kind teachers along the way who made me felt welcome. I also still remember the "mean" classmates who excluded me for being different. I hope you and your students, children, and friends enjoy this authentic story.
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