Tag Archives: Randa Abdel-Fattah

11 Words for Love – Randa Abdel-Fattah/Maxine Beneba Clarke

Standard

Hachette

September 2022

Imprint: Lothian Children’s Books

ISBN: 9780734421203 

RRP: $24.99

In the Arabic language, there are over 50 words describing the degrees of love. That’s 50 stories, 50 life-worlds. This lyrical and heartwarming book takes you on a journey through 11 of these Arabic expressions for love

While this deceptively simple text focuses on the journey of an Arabic family seeking refuge, it is most definitely a book for all children, regardless of their family history or culture. Each Arabic expression (in Arabic symbols/script as well as words) is accompanied by a lyrical one-sentence definition and both are pinned against the backdrop of glorious double spreads full of life and indeed, love. Maxine’s illustrations are gloriously rendered in watercolour pencil and collage, and vibrantly reflect the liveliness of the child who is offering up the words of love.

The child’s family find friends in their new home, along with much joy with nature, pets, neighbours and school, although they do miss their old home and remember it with love as well.

In a world increasingly beset with ugly hate and conflict, we know we must continually reinforce empathy and compassion in our youngsters and, in my opinion, the most effective strategy in our toolbox is through quality literature which is thoughtful and sensitive. Sharing this book will provide a perfect entrée into rich discussions on refugees, migrants, different cultures and languages, kindnes, and ways to make people welcome.

It is a book full of hope as well as love and I would love to share this with children and have them create their own artworks with their depictions of love in its many forms.

Highly recommended for little people from Kinder upwards.