Jumpstart's Book Recommendation for Arab American Heritage Month

Happy Arab American Heritage Month! This April, we want to uplift stories representative of the experiences and culture of the Arab diaspora. Jumpstart’s Education team suggests the following books that you can share with your child:


  • The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story written by Aya Khalil; illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan
    • Kanzi has recently moved to a new town and is nervous about feeling different at a new school. Kanzi’s teacher, family, and her classmates all work together on creating a classroom quilt filled with their names in Arabic as they learn how incredible it is to know more than one language. Ask your child if there’s another language they’d like to learn to speak. Research some common words in a new language together and practice saying them aloud!
  • Leila in Saffron written by Rukhsanna Guidroz, illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova
    • Join Leila as she goes to her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner. Leila helps the preparation of dinner, tries on her one of her grandmother’s saffron scarves, and feels proud to look in the mirror at her reflection. Encourage your child to look at their own reflection in a nearby mirror and ask them to describe the facial features that make them unique, beautiful, and proud.
  • That’s Not My Name! written and illustrated by Anoosha Syed
    • Mirha means “happiness” in Arabic and Mirha is reminded exactly how special her name is, even if it is different than those of her classmates. Share with your child the origin of their name and then ask them, “what makes your name special?”
  • Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers written by Uma Mishra-Newbery, Lina Al-Hathloul, illustrated by Rebecca Green
    • Inspired by the true story of activist, Loujain AlHathloul, comes this story of Loujain who learns to fly through flying lessons from her dad to fulfill her dream of seeing a field of sunflowers she’s only ever seen pictures of. Invite your child to think about something they dream of. “What do you dream of doing? How can we work together to accomplish your dream?”
  • The Day Saida Arrived written by Susana GĂłmez Redondo; illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
    • Join Saida and her new friend as they navigate communicating and the start of a new friendship across different languages. Encourage your child to think about someone in their life they communicate with even through different languages. “How do you talk with them? What activities can you do together even while speaking different languages?”
  • The Gift of Ramadan written by Rabiah York Lumbard; illustrated by Laura K. Horton
    • In this story, Sophia attempts to join her parents and grandma in fasting for Ramadan. She learns there are other ways to celebrate Ramadan with her family. Ask your child, “What are some of the ways you enjoy celebrating holidays with our family?”


For over 29 years, Jumpstart has been fueled by the core belief that providing high-quality educational opportunities to all young children prepares them for academic and economic success later in life. Jumpstart advances equitable learning outcomes for young children by recruiting and supporting caring adults to deliver high-quality programming and drive systems change through teaching, advocacy, and leadership. Jumpstart has trained more than 60,000 college students and community volunteers, preparing over 140,000 children for kindergarten success. Jumpstart’s program is replicated across the country in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at jstart.org.  

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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