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The Roses in My Carpets Hardcover – September, 1998

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This realistic story follows a day in the life of a young Afghani refugee who takes solace in the beautiful carpets he weaves. In a recurring nightmare, the boy narrator flees with his mother and younger sister, Maha, from the bomber planes that killed his father, then awakes to find himself in a safe but impoverished camp. At dawn, a muezzin calls him to prayer; he then attends school, followed by another call to prayer and finally goes off to his long-awaited practice of carpet weaving. For him, weaving is a skill that ensures "my family will never go hungry" and an outlet that allows him to create a world of color and beauty ("Everything in camp is a dirty brown, so I do not use brown anywhere in my carpets"). When Maha is injured by a truck, the boy must set aside his weaving to come to his family's aid. Khan hints at the boy's powerful emotions in spare prose, and handles her difficult subject matter sensitively. Himler (Fly Away Home) paints the family with dignity and warmth, enveloping them in earth-colored, rosy tones and the details of daily life. Readers will appreciate the candor of author and artist in their depiction of refugee life and the family's hope in the midst of such conflict; however, they will need an adult's help to explain some of its larger themes. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-3-A young Afghan describes his grim life in the refugee camp where he lives with his mother and younger sister. Their food is bread and water or tea; their hut is made of mud. His father was killed in the war while plowing the field. The child's only joy is learning to weave carpets, into which he incorporates intricate rose patterns. One day his sister is hit by a truck. That night, after learning that she will survive, he dreams of jets crossing the sky and dropping bombs, but unlike his earlier nightmares of suffering a direct hit, he now dreams that the three find a space "the size of a carpet" where no bombs can strike. Within the space are roses. The restrained watercolor illustrations skillfully convey both the physical setting and emotional impact of the story. However, the plot is thin, the text is somewhat flat, and young readers will long for more details about this boy's life. The book's best use may be by teachers, pairing it with Florence Parry Heide's more richly woven Sami and the Time of the Troubles (Clarion, 1992).
Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823413993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823413997
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I think this is a great book for encouraging discussion of diversity in the classroom.
In the school where I teach a lot of the children come from refugee backgrounds and this story was something they could really relate to. But the other kids could relate to it too.
The imagery is powerful and the kids loved it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"It's always the same. The jets scream overhead." is the powerful first line of this story that resonates even more forcefully in the wake of the September 11th attacks. The Roses in My Carpets is a masterful tale of a young Afghan refugee by Toronto writer Rukhsana Khan. It is based on a true story, that of the author's foster child in Peshawar, Pakistan. With the unfolding of historical events, it is probably destined to be a classic.
Spare, grim and unsentimental, the story is a beautifully woven narrative of a young fatherless refugee boy caring for his mother and sister in a war-torn world. Symbolic of the loss of identity suffered by refugees, the boy remains nameless throughout the story. Movingly, he struggles to survive with his family within the sombre parameters that govern his universe. Escape finally arrives when he goes to his job as an apprentice carpet weaver. There he makes sure "there are plenty of roses in my carpets". As the story ends, hope surfaces in the young boy's dream of finding "a space, the size of a carpet, where the bombs cannot touch us."
Ronald Himler's watercolour and pencil drawings look overwhelmingly familiar with the images that now flood our homes through television. I have read Roses to my four year old many times and she appreciated the opportunity to comprehend the devastating effect of war on families. I would highly recommend it to other parents and teachers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie C. Wilson on March 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great story for any age group. My eight year old son read this book and learned more about current events than the news could have ever taught him. I used this book in my tenth grade class room when we did a unit on picture books and changing the world and my students were prompted to plan a school wide "tolerance / compassion" day so that others could learn more about people around the world.
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