Grandma Hekmat Remembers: An Egyptian-American Family Story

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This book is part of a warmly photographed series that takes as its premise Margaret Mead's belief that "grandmothers are the transmitters of culture." Children growing up in America learn the beliefs and traditions of their forebears from Grandmother, who in this case lives next door but frequently visits her native Egypt. The cover photograph brings you right into the heart of the family as we see Grandmother baking traditional cookies with a flour-faced little girl. The house surrounding the family is entirely American, as are the dress, toys and daily activities of the three young girls. But mother and grandmother wear hijab, the traditional Islamic head scarf. The family prays at the local mosque in New Jersey and celebrates Islamic holidays like Ramadan. There are even old family photos when Grandmother was a young girl in Egypt. The photographs are absolutely real. The story is simply told, with a single sentence on each page in large type and more details in smaller type. The story could be read to very young children just with the large type sentences. There is a brief glossary, a family tree and some suggested activities for young readers to learn about their own family history. Other titles in the series feature grandmothers who are Jewish, Hispanic, Chinese, African-American, Native American and British. It is a perfect series to reinforce the beauty of family, appreciation of the older generation, and joy in the growing diversity of American communities. 2003, Millbrook Press, Ages 4 to 12.
— Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-The relationship between three young Arab-American sisters and their grandmother is profiled in this series title. The narrative moves between scenes of the girls and their grandmother at home in New Jersey to Grandma Hekmatt's memories of her former home in Egypt. Glimpses of Arab culture are gleaned from scenes of various activities, such as belly dancing, baking kahek, and learning how to write in Arabic. Though the family's religion is not the focus of the book, they are shown attending services at a mosque and celebrating Ramadan. What starts out as an appealing concept, however, falls short. The text is stilted and uneven in places, and the many photographs have an amateurish look to them. The page layout, with a confusing blend of large and small fonts, interferes with the readability rather than enhancing it. Though there is certainly a need for more good children's literature on such underrepresented cultures, this title doesn't quite make the grade.-Sue Morgan, Tom Kitayama Elementary School, Union City, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761328643
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Series: What was it like Grandma?
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 11.26 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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