Happy MCBD2018 #ReadYourWorld {Resource}

Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day, now in it’s fifth year.

I’m so excited to be a co-Host this year to add my review for Kadis كديسة. It was a wonderful book that beautifully highlights Sudanese landscape, customs, people and culture. Last year I received a Persian book, Naji and the Mystery of the Dig.

At the bottom of this post, there is Linky going on right now for reviewers of multicultural books that allow your child to #ReadYourWorld.


Please stop by A Crafty Arab resource page to find 100s of children books, reviews, downloads, & DIY tutorials on the Arab world, Islam, Muslims, Muslimahs, the Middle East/North Africa (MENA), Asia, Africa, & Arab Americans.


If you would ilke to know more about Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017, it is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Their mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Current Sponsors: Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 Multicultural Children’s Book Day Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

2018 Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Twitter Party

Multicultural Children’s Book Day super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm and sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs:

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!

2018 Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Free Resources

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers.

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators.


Be sure to link up your multicultural children’s book:




Sudan Writing Board {Tutorial} plus {Review}

I am so excited to once again be a co-host for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. This year I reviewed a Muslim children’s bilingual book from Sudan to review, Kadis كديسة by Rasha Hamid.



This book is unique on so many levels, first it was written in Sudanese Arabic, a dialect I am not too familiar with, but excited to learn.  Second, it is read sideways, which allows more room for the English rhythmical text and Arabic translations. And third, it features sensational photos of Sudan, transposed with  كديسة  (kadis or cat) drawings from artist Sharhabil Ahmed.


My daughters and I enjoyed learning about Sudan through the adventures of the cats and we went online to look up more information.  We found that students historically used wood writing boards to practice their Arabic calligraphy and to help them memorize Qur’anic verses.


To help us learn the new Sudanese Arabic words in the back of the book, we made a writing board to draw what we were learning on the different pages.  I had received this chalkboard paint as a Plaid Ambassador and the Liquid Chalk was perfect for letting us draw an image, wipe it off, and draw the next.  Just like a real writing board from Sunday!  Except that with the liquid chalk, there is no smudging if someone accidentally touches it.


Artist wood panel
Chalkboard paint
Liquid chalk
Foam brush
Blank stencil

Follow the manufactures instructions on how to apply the chalkboard paint. Ours says to add three layers, waiting an hour between coats.  Once the third layer was on, we left it alone for 24 hours to set.

While we waited, we worked on making our stencils for the Arabic word for cat: كديسة and one of the cats from the book. To make the word, we laid the stencil over the book and traced out the letters. To make sure we don’t lose the hole in the last letter ة, we added lines to keep it attached.

My 11 year old daughter made this craft, so I helped her with the smaller turns in the letters, but she did the straight areas to practice working with an xacto.

We decided to go with one of the simpler cat drawings and traced it also. At this point my daughter was able to cut out the whole cat by herself with the Xacto.

We set everything aside for the next day. After the 24 were done and our wood board was dry, we conditioned it according to our directions. First we covered the whole thing with chalk. Then we wiped it off with soap and water.

We waited till our board was dry and placed our stencil on top. We sponge painted the letters.

We also added the كديسة.

Now the fun began as we used the pages of the book to inspire our drawings.

First we stared with a zir, زير, a type of clay water pot that cools water though evaporation. You can find azyar, أزيار, the plural of zir, along the way for travelers to sip on hot, windy desert days. A visual reminder of the generosity and hospitality of the Sudanese people.

While we had our paintbrush out, we also fixed the connection to make our last letter, ة, complete.

Once the chalk paint is dry, it is smudge proof.

However, with just a little water and wrist strength, it can be made clean.

Now our board is ready for our next lesson, about kusseh alsukr, sugar cane, قصب السكر.


We can add a hook to the back of the board and hang it up as art.

Grab your copy of this delightful book and support Multicultural Book Day by stopping by on Saturday for the big link party!

If you enjoyed this DIY craft and book review, pleas stop by

Sheep Origami Bookmark {Tutorial} plus Who Hid The Eid Lamb {Review}

Mosque Golden Domes {Tutorial} plus Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns {Review}


Be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more tutorials.

Teaching Khatam Name Tile Art {Resource}

Today I had the pleasure of teaching Arab art to middle school students at a local school. I wanted to introduce them to the artwork of Iraqi Hassan Mousssady and then have them create khatam name tiles.  A khatam is the Arabic word for eight point star, so their tiles will also have eight points, while using their name in a radial symmetrical pattern.

I started the class by giving the kids a little history of Arab art and how it compares to Middle East/North African (MENA) art vs Islamic art. I showcased the contributions made from the Arab world in architecture, calligraphy, ceramics, fiber arts, metalwork, mosaics, oriental rug and painting.

We spent a little time talking about the khatam mosaic tile, how it is not just exclusive to the MENA region, also highly regarded in Buddhist symbolism. We looked at a few examples of the 8 point star in MENA architecture.

We talked about famous Arab Americas, including local celebrity Seahawk Oday Aboushi, and also talked about Muslim Americans. I quizzed them on Islamic countries worldwide and gave them a crossword puzzle on Arabic words that are in the English language.

I then introduced them to Iraqi calligrapher Hassan Massoudy, born in 1944 and later studied at the Beaux-Art in France. His earlier work was figurative and landscapes before he started concentrating on calligraphy. He loves to collect poems and quotes and carries notebooks to amass them. Once he finds one that speaks to him, he takes his time, dissecting the collection of words and playing around with the composition.  Once he settles on one word in the quote, he enlarges it with beautiful sweeping flows of paint, making it the highlight of the canvas.


I told the students this gives power to the word and we are going to give power to their names.


I showed them how Hassan Massoudy uses an ancient calligraphy practice of moving letters around to make an image. Here is his drawing of a dove, made up of the letters for the Arab word for peace: السلام.


It’s a little hard to see the word because the letters have been manipulated to create the image. Now see if you can see the letters if each one is colored in a different way.

We looked at a few more slides, including one from local hero, Chief Seattle and I pointed out the use of color.  Traditionally, calligraphy is known as a black ink art, but Hassan Massoudy introduced colors.

I explained the khatam name tiles we would be making, and encouraged them to use colors on their letters.

Since we were using their English names, they were allowed to use block letters. The goal is to create 8 points with their letters by moving them around, enlarging them, or finding some creative way to make 8 points.

The final step was adding color to the letters to achieve the look of tile.

We began by folding a 12 x 12 piece of paper into 8 parts and started the process of duplicating their names in each part.


To replicate their names in each section, they each got creative in how their names were reproduced, some used the windows, some used the overhead lights.  I have taught this class to younger students and have taken in carbon paper but I enjoy challenging the older students to be innovative in how they reproduce their name.

I knew that it was a good project, when I also noticed my teaching assistant, provided by the school, was also doing her name on the front door.

The class was three hours long and many were not able to finish. However, this is such a portable project, they simply folded their name tiles into triangles and tucked them into backpacks and pockets, to be pulled out later to finish at their own time.

I enjoyed the students and introducing a new artist to them. If you live in Washington State and would like me to come teach Arab art to your K-12 classroom, please contact me.


Visit these other classroom projects

Startalk 2013 Arabic Camp {Outing}

Search Teaching String Art {Outing} Fall 2017 Women’s Wellness Weekend

Please stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see other classroom projects.