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Sitti's Secrets (Aladdin Picture Books) Paperback – October 1, 1997
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-When Mona travels from her home in the U.S. to visit her grandmother's small Palestinian village on the West Bank, she must rely on her father to translate at first, but soon she and Sitti are communicating perfectly. With verve and a childlike sense of wonder, Mona relates some of the sights, sounds, and tastes she is introduced to as well as "the secrets" she learns from spending time in the wise, elderly woman's company. Upon her return home, Mona writes to the president describing the woman and expressing her concerns about the situation in her homeland. "I vote for peace. My grandmother votes with me." says Mona. The simple, poetic text is accompanied by exquisitely rendered mixed-medium paintings. They are suffused with the light and colors of the desert, and incorporate subtle and evocative collage touches. A story about connections that serves as a thoughtful, loving affirmation of the bonds that transcend language barriers, time zones, and national borders.
Luann Toth, School Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Ages 4-8. Sitti means grandmother in Arabic, and in this lyrical picture book an American child misses her grandmother who lives in a Palestinian village "on the other side of the earth." The child remembers when she visited Sitti. They didn't speak the same language: at first they talked through her father, who spoke both English and Arabic, and then they invented their own language with signs and hums and claps. She remembers the house and the countryside, the culture and the clothes, and the intimacy of brushing Sitti's hair. She also remembers the painful leave-taking ("Even my father kept blowing his nose and walking outside"), and back in the U.S., she writes a letter to the President: "If the people of the United States could meet Sitti, they'd like her, for sure." Carpenter's paintings show the physical bond between child and grandmother when they're close and their imaginary connection when they're far away from each other. Like the human embrace, the pictures flow with soft curving lines of clothes and hills, birds and sky, all part of the circle of the rolling earth. There are too few books like this one about Arabs and Arab Americans as people. Nye edited the powerful global poetry collection for older readers, This Same Sky (1992); that title applies here, too, showing that "people are far apart, but connected." Every child who longs for a distant grandparent will recognize the feeling. Hazel Rochman --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top customer reviews
This book depicts the peaceful life of a family in Palestine amid the turmoil that they have endured, but very subtly. When the little girl returns home, she writes a letter to the American president expressing her wish for peace and adds that she knows her grandma wishes the same. Each night, as she falls asleep, she connects with her grandma who she misses by thinking of the sun that leaves her side of the world now warming the land where her grandma lives. I wish we could all feel a connection with every human being on this earth as being just a sunrise away.