Free Shipping on Orders of $40 or More
The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, August 12



Children's Africana Book Award (CABA) 2021 Honor Book

NCSS 2021 Notable Social Studies Book

Kanzi’s family has moved from Egypt to America, and on her first day in a new school, what she wants more than anything is to fit in. Maybe that’s why she forgets to take the kofta sandwich her mother has made for her lunch, but that backfires when Mama shows up at school with the sandwich. Mama wears a hijab and calls her daughter Habibti (dear one). When she leaves, the teasing starts.

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 acceptance in her new one.  

This authentic story with beautiful illustrations includes a glossary of Arabic words and a presentation of Arabic letters with their phonetic English equivalents.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780884487548
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Publication date: 02/18/2020
Pages: 36
Sales rank: 32,157
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 6 - 8 Years

About the Author

Aya Khalil is a freelance journalist and blogger who has taught at all levels from preschool to college. The Arabic Quilt is based on events from her childhood, when she immigrated to the U.S. from Egypt with her parents and siblings. She lives in Toledo, Ohio, with her husband, Abdalrahman, and their two children.

Anait Semirdzhyan grew up in a multicultural family and lived in several countries with diverse cultures before settling in the Seattle area with her husband and twin daughters. Her illustrations begin as pencil sketches on cold-press watercolor paper. She then inks the outlines, paints with watercolors, and scans the illustrations in order to edit them in Photoshop. She is the illustrator of The Arabic Quilt and other works that can be viewed at


Interview with Aya Khalil

Q1: Why did you write this book? I wrote this book because I want kids to see themselves in stories. It’s based on true stories growing up as an Egyptian-American.

Q2: Even though the title has immigrant in it, I think it’s for everyone! I think kids and adults (first, second, third generation) can relate to it!

Q3: Are you Kanzi? It is based on true events from my own childhood when I immigrated to the US from Egypt. I had a teacher in elementary school who created the same project that’s in the book. I just reached out to tell her this and she was so surprised!

Q4: I love that you made Kanzi with dark skin and dark curly hair. How did you decide on her look? It was important for the main character to not be white as only 31 percent of books feature a child of color and that’s way too low! There’s lots of curly haired girls and boys in my own family as well.

From 2/21/2020

Customer Reviews

Explore More Items