The Magic Carpet Kindle Edition
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- File size : 2039 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publication date : July 22, 2019
- Print length : 422 pages
- ASIN : B07TXZP2S2
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,535,987 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What I most appreciated about The Magic Carpet was that Jessica Norrie dealt with the real-life issues of society in a sensitive yet realistic manner. Schools aren't immune from families with abuse, prejudice, lack of trust, or economic issues. They are a melting pot of ethnicities, cultures, religions, and socioeconomic groups. Some families accept these differences, while others live in fear of their neighbors.
Five families tell the story through multiple points of view. That is not an easy task to pull off, but Jessica Norrie does so in an engaging manner. The relationships within the families were spot on with moments of love, conflict, and tension. Books such as this are essential educational tools in learning to accept other cultures within a society.
The Magic Carpet features a tapestry of different cultures, nationalities and generations, all woven together through a shared school, neighbourhood and a story-centred school project.
We get to dip in and out of the lives and houses of a diverse cast of children, parents, siblings, grandparents and friends as they all tackle the task of reinterpreting a classic fairytale in their own unique ways.
The themes of cultural identities and cultural integration, and the struggle for immigrants to balance their own family history and traditions with their desire to ‘fit in’ with those around them are sensitively explored from a variety of different perspectives, giving plenty of food for thought, especially in our current social context.
The other overarching theme is that of the importance of stories and storytelling. The importance of ‘own voice’ story experiences, the unity of collaborating on stories; the way stories can be written and rewritten to shape reality into different patterns and change the way we think about the challenges we – and others – face.
More than a morality tale, though, this story paints a warm picture of each different family environment: their individual struggles and successes, dreams and fears. The characters feel like friends and neighbours, and I was thoroughly invested in what happened to them… still thinking about them long after I turned the final page.
This is a beautiful, skilfully-crafted tale that entertains and moves the reader (to tears on occasion!), and really makes you think about privilege, respect, diversity and what these things mean to different people. And, of course, it is perfect for anyone who loves a good story!
On the magic carpet with Xoriyo I’m a child again, whooping with joy and laughter, swooshing, swirling, fearless of the height. We’re children together, but also wise: we know the languages of the places we see, our homeland and those of others. We can communicate with any of our fellow travellers… Xoriyo sees curving blue rivers far below and she knows they are called meanders; she sees oxbow lakes, murrains and wadis and she knows what all these are too. On the magic carpet we understand all people we meet: the goatherd, the engineer, and his toddling twins. We may choose to wear whatever we like from abayas to swimsuits. We are confident in our choices and violence and ignorance can do us no harm.
Really there is no reason my daughter should not make friends at this school, new friends, who can take this journey with us through fresh places and new joys. We can have every passport and none, here; we can belong and invite others to belong with us.
On the magic carpet we are free.
– Jessica Norrie, The Magic Carpet
Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
Top reviews from other countries
This book is unassumingly beautiful in so many ways. The construction, following the stories of a community through the alternating voices of different members from different backgrounds and different generations as they work on a school project, works perfectly to give clear voices to the characters. The author makes them all so distinct and believable, by the end I felt like I really knew these people; they were MY friends, MY neighbours, and I just wanted every one of them to get that happy ending. I thought she did such an amazing job of making each voice so authentic, really capturing the difference in the thought processes and speech of the children, parents and grandparents. It’s obvious that she has spent a lot of time observing characters and understanding them.
This is the story of our changing society. Of how we are trying to assimilate different cultures, backgrounds and faiths and re-weaving the tapestry of our country to accommodate the changes they bring. It reflects the difficulties this can bring, the misunderstanding and isolation this can cause for people of all backgrounds, how sometimes we fail, how some people resist but, underlying it all there is a strong vein of kindness and compassion in most people. This book is so relevant to these difficult and turbulent times in which we currently find ourselves, when it is so easy to believe the world has become a dark and unfriendly place. This book, with its message of hope is a welcome beacon, and I do firmly believe that, for the most part, the majority of us are these kind, compassionate, empathetic and tolerant people portrayed, despite the volume of protest we often hear. For the sake of my children, I so desperately want this to be true.
Throughout the book, the author gives light to a range of difficulties facing these families, which are sometimes hard to read. Domestic violence, racism and prejudice, abuse, isolation, bereavement. Unpleasant topics, but ones that people struggle with daily, often in silence, and these are things that can be affecting children in school, regardless of whether people know about them or not. One of the issues explored is how problems that parents are struggling with but believe they are hiding from their children can have a profound effect on the child. Children are acutely aware and sensitive and, regardless of whether adults speak openly about their problems or not, they cannot fail to be affected. The book illustrates this beautifully and, I hope, it will make more adults think about how they address problems with their children. It is difficult to know how much children should be exposed to, and the book acknowledges and explores that dilemma, but it is impossible to shield them completely.
The underlying message of this story is that, underneath colour and nationality and religion, we have so much more in common that we have differences and the exercise of having the children retell fairy stories, using their own words, demonstrates how our stories have so many overlaps and common themes. People are people the world over and, going back, have the same fears and problems, joys and successes and have used stories to record these. I thought this was such a clever and success motif to get across the point. If we allow ourselves to see it, there is more that binds us than divides us and as a society we need to highlight these similarities, rather than focus on our differences.
I am so happy that this book crossed my path. It is a thought-provoking, beautiful, sad, difficult but uplifting story and I would urge everyone to read it. It deserves a huge audience.
As the children bring home a letter about a future performance to involve all the pupils with perhaps the aid of friends or families, an incident occurs bringing two of the girls together. Alka, a quiet beautiful Indian girl spends time with clumsy, self-centred Sky, whose kind, slightly insecure mother, Teresa, attempts to unite the girls. Soon, Nathan, a bright Chinese boy will join them and their co-operation sparks great interest in the project. Nearby, Mandeep lives in a busy, happy household with his delightful grandma and in a small flat live Safiya and her daughter Xoriyo. Although Somalian, Xoriyo has grown up in England, but in this new school she has chosen to remain mute, concealing her intelligence and excellent English Through the experiences of Safiya, we witness the increasing racism and her struggle to relate to Teresa, whose attempts at friendship are awkward and embarrassing.
This is a book of humour, pathos and relationships. It is a story to give hope in our troubled times for understanding and education. Jessica Norrie has great perception and knowledge about the lives of our diverse society and although life is not a fairy tale, the parallels of monsters and happy endings are a lesson for us all.
It is a collection of lives of a multicultural community, families brought together by a school project. Each individuals story intricately woven into the bigger picture. The characters so real as if they could be your own neighbours. Some with tragic tales of war and abuse. Heartbreaking decisions to pull young children to safety away from cultural traditions, yet always fearing the worse. Never knowing what the future will hold or if they would fit in.
Children are so resilient and bounce back so easily after an upset, and in this story it is the children that pull the families together with their versions of some traditional fairy tales. This is a beautiful book that will give you a small glimpse into the lives of a group of people from different cultural backgrounds. Very highly recommended.
I would not normally have read this book. First, the subject is just so damned worthy. Multi-ethnicity families struggling around the time that Brexit kicks off? I was bracing myself for 500 pages of shallow "racism is bad m'kay" doing more harm that good. Second, chapter by chapter change between the many different character's PoV is an invitation to confusion, stereotype, and people you cannot even remember never mind follow.
Happily, I was wrong on every count. These are real families, with normal, family problems. You will recognise them. Each character has their own distinct voice – the children in particularly are superb. Their lives are riddled with conflict: performance at school, making friends, having a personal life as a single parent. You cannot help but empathise with and care about them because so much is what you have been through or known others go through.
The title is perfect, because each chapter reads like a particularly well-constructed short story that weaves together occasionally radically different perspectives of the same events. The author has drawn magnificently on her own experiences as a teacher to create real people, with realistic ethnic influences but for whom the fact that they are Punjabi or Somalian or whatever is in the background to whatever is actually going on in their lives. That is brilliant and true: the first step to overcoming racism is seeing more than ethnicity. The Magic Carpet is a wonderful story about real people struggling with how hard it is to be a family. You will be gripped by every page.