Yaf­fa and Fati­ma: Shalom, Salaam

Fawzia Gilani-Williams, adapt.; Chiara Fedele, illus.

  • Review
By – March 24, 2017

Based on an old folk­tale with both Jew­ish and Arab roots, this ver­sion of the sto­ry focus­es on Yaf­fa and Fati­ma, two neigh­bors who are Jew­ish and Mus­lim, respec­tive­ly. The first half of the book sets up their friend­ship and lays out the dif­fer­ent cus­toms of each woman. Then hard times come. Sep­a­rate­ly, the friends each come up with an iden­ti­cal plan to help the oth­er one out. The text is sim­ple but love­ly, as are the mut­ed but expres­sive illus­tra­tions — both of which suit the sto­ry per­fect­ly. Its mes­sage of mutu­al respect and of the pow­er of friend­ship to tran­scend dif­fer­ences is espe­cial­ly wel­come right now.

Leslie Kim­mel­man grew up out­side Philadel­phia and grad­u­at­ed from Mid­dle­bury Col­lege in Ver­mont. She is the author of many children’s books, awards for which include Best Children’s Books of the Year from the Bank Street Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion; Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Stud­ies; and Syd­ney Tay­lor Notable Books. Kim­mel­man is an edi­tor at Sesame Work­shop and lives with her fam­i­ly just north of New York City.

Discussion Questions