Disclosure: I received a copy of Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam to assess. All opinions are my own.
One look at the news, and it’s clear the world is filled with conflict. Divisions abound between countries, states, cities, and communities. Differing ideologies such as religion, race, economics, and social policies drive wedges between neighbors.
As much as we wish to shield our children, they are perceptive and often know more than we realize. As parents, we teach our kids to help others. We tell them to be kind. We remind them to not judge others by the way they look. But what happens when kids don’t see these values reflected in the real world? How do we reinforce that not all differences are bad? How do we instill empathy and kindness towards fellow human beings who may not look or act exactly like us?
Books are a gateway to children’s minds. They can shape learning and influence perspectives. Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam, adapted by Fawzia Gilani-Williams and illustrated by Chiara Fedele, is a picture book that fulfills these aspects. Released in January 2017, the book is a retelling of a folktale — both of Jewish and Arab origins — about two friends of two faiths.
Yaffa, a Jewish woman, lives next door to Fatima, a Muslim woman. Though they practice different faiths, they’re day-to-day lives include many similarities. Yaffa and Fatima are good friends, and when they both fall on hard times, they find ways to help each other. The book is an inspiring story of peace and friendship. No matter the reader’s religious background, Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam teaches the child that differences are not always causes for conflict.
Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, is ideal for readers ages 4 to 9 years. To purchase, visit your Judaica gift shop or bookstore, or shop online at www.karben.com and Amazon. Hardcover $17.99; Paperback $7.99.
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