Hello! A Welcoming Story!
⭐️Arc from Netgalley-
Genre: Picture Book
Screening: images of bombs/violence/scary creatures
This book is made of two books: one in the view of refugee kids and one in the view of those welcoming them. I liked the uniqueness of this book, although I would need a hardcover to see how it fully looks.
The refugee side tells the story of a few refugee kids, among whom is Habiba, a little black Muslim girl in hijab. I liked that the refugees were varied and had no specific color or religion.
The story shows how the refugees were once happy, before bad guys came and their home turned violent. They had to flee for their lives and arrive in their new home. Their new home appears to be a western city, and although it appears different, the refugees have hope. But at school, the words are different, the kids clothes are different than theirs, and lunch was different food.
But when the refugee kids change their food, clothes, and in the case of the little girl, takes of her hijab, the other kids speak up and tell them they don’t have to change. And hijab is specifically pointed out as a positive dress, which I appreciated!
The kids play and dance together, and build bridges in their new home.
For the other side, the kids that are not refugees are open and welcoming. They mention that they like the differences of the refugee kids, and they touch on Islamaphobia and how its wrong. They welcome the new kids and mention that they can learn from them too. And the stories merge together to be a positive story.
I did appreciate this book’s intention is to teach kids to accept refugees, which is much needed. I liked that the book mentioned that it is a positive thing when refugees make their home in a new country and that they have a lot to offer the communities.
The positive representation of hijab, as well as the caring mother in niqab, is a wonderful thing to see in books and it was beautifully illustrated for young kids and easily explained.❤️
I do think its weird the hijabi girl says no one looked like her, since hijab is not exclusive to eastern cultures, but I understand that some areas might not have any muslims.