A Kid's Guide to Arab American History: More Than 50 Activities


Winner of:
2014 Arab American Book Award, Children/Young Adult Category
Many Americans, educators included, mistakenly believe all Arabs share the same culture, language, and religion, and have only recently begun immigrating to the United States. A Kid’s Guide to Arab American History dispels these and other stereotypes and provides a contemporary as well as historical look at the people and ...

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A Kid's Guide to Arab American History: More Than 50 Activities

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Winner of:
2014 Arab American Book Award, Children/Young Adult Category
Many Americans, educators included, mistakenly believe all Arabs share the same culture, language, and religion, and have only recently begun immigrating to the United States. A Kid’s Guide to Arab American History dispels these and other stereotypes and provides a contemporary as well as historical look at the people and experiences that have shaped Arab American culture. Each chapter focuses on a different group of Arab Americans including those of Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi, and Yemeni descent and features more than 50 fun activities that highlight their distinct arts, games, clothing, and food. Kids will love dancing the dabke, constructing a derbekke drum, playing a game of senet, making hummus, creating an arabesque design, and crafting an Egyptian-style cuff bracelet. Along the way they will learn to count in Kurdish, pick up a few Syrian words for family members, learn a Yemeni saying, and speak a little Iraqi. Short biographies of notable Arab Americans, including actor and philanthropist Danny Thomas, singer Paula Abdul, artist Helen Zughaib, and activist Ralph Nader, demonstrate a wide variety of careers and contributions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Chock-full of fascinating insights into a vibrant, inspiring community, punctuated by fun (even delicious) activities, this book taught me so much! Every American kid should read it, and every American grown-up, too.”  —Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Jingle Dancer

“[The authors] have woven a rich tapestry of the Arab American experience for young readers. History, achievements, trails blazed, challenges faced, and material and social culture—all of it is rendered accessible through the stories of people and communities, some familiar and others much less well known. Numerous craft activities engage attention and imagination by tapping the senses.”  —Uma Krishnaswami, author of The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.

A Kid’s Guide to Arab American History is the ultimate eye-opening introduction to Arab Americans! The authors have skillfully combined informative, engagingly written text with an impressive variety of imaginative crafts and activities from each of the Arab countries, suitable for elementary-age children.  This book is just right for families, schools, and anyone who values the incredible richness of our immigrant American nation.”  —Elsa Marston, author of Figs and Fate: Stores About Growing Up in the Arab World Today

“With its focus on interesting hands-on activities and fascinating profiles of notable as well as ordinary Arab Americans, this book will definitely help dispel many negative stereotypes. It’s a much-needed resource that highlights the rich and diverse histories, traditions, cultures, and religions of the most dominant Arab American groups in the US. I highly recommend it.”  —Jama Rattigan, author of Dumpling Soup

“This book is a delight to read; offering much-needed insights about our neighbors, Americans with Arab roots who have contributed so very much to our society.”  —Dr. Jack G. Shaheen, author of Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs After 9/11

"Filled with surprising facts, little-known tidbits, and plenty of information all of us need to know...the delightful and informative 'a-ha' moments throughout are many..."—BookDragon

"An excellent book for classroom use and parents who wish to give their children a sense of all the cultures that make up the USA."—Bookloons.com

Kirkus Reviews
Ralph Nader, Khalil Gibran and Danny Thomas: What do they have in common? They are Lebanese-Americans mentioned in this uneven compendium of facts and activities that explores the history of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. The title is misleading, as such groups as Chaldeans, Berbers and Sephardic Jews, among others, are included, even though they do not believe that they are Arab. Despite this, exposing American readers to the great religious and cultural diversity of these 16 countries and the Palestinian territories and their immigrants is a worthwhile endeavor. Unfortunately, the craft instructions, games, recipes, dance, language-learning and writing projects vary in the strength of their connection to "Arab" culture. For example, Palestinian-American writer Naomi Shihab Nye is featured, and the related activity focuses on her poem "Every Cat Has a Story," which is tied to her writing about "everyday events and ordinary events"--not to her writing about the Middle East. "Design a National Safety Month Poster," strangely, attempts to connect Ralph Nader to the legendary phoenix. The diagrams are useful, and some of the design elements are attractive, but the other illustrations are amateurish. Professionals and parents can probably pull a few interesting activities and anecdotes from this book, but the individual parts do not add up to a cohesive whole. (resources, bibliography, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613740170
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Series: A Kid's Guide Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 815,403
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 1100L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Yvonne Wakim Dennis is a Cherokee and Syrian author, curriculum developer, social worker, and multicultural consultant. She is the coauthor of the award-winning A Kid’s Guide to Native American History and Native Americans Today. Maha Addasi is the author of The White Nights of Ramadan and Time to Pray, both ALA recommended books. She has been a freelance writer, news correspondent, television anchor, and radio producer in Amman, Jordan. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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