Learning Arabic In A Flash {Review}

I recently received Arabic educational materials from Tuttle Publishing to review. They have a vast selection of language products from the Middle East and North Africa.

These materials could not have come at a better time, while I am improving my Arabic to head back to Morocco and my teen starts her winter break soon. We received four items total, so I’d like to break down how each one worked or didn’t work for us.

The workbook Salamaat! Learning Arabic with Ease: Learn the Basic Building Blocks of Modern Standard Arabic was designed as the first building block once you master the Arabic alphabet. It does not teach you how to connect the letters or how they are pronounced, but rather helps with sentence structure and learning the gender endings of words. The book was a little advanced for my daughter but perfect for me that I found myself taking it along on bus trips to work on worksheets. The book came with a CD of conversations which my daughter found more useful, to help hear how letters and words sound.

We also received two flashcard kits that help learn Arabic words with cards and an index booklets. Volume 1 starts easy with the first 28 cards devoted to the alphabet. Each card has four ways in which that letter is used in different words. After the alphabet, the cards have an Arabic word on the front with four derivations. On the back are the same words, but with corresponding English translation. There is also a sample sentence using the main word. The kit comes with a 32 page booklet.

Volume 2 has 448 more flashcards and includes a 48 page booklet with more key abbreviations and pronunciation guide. The cards in both kits come wrapped in a paper band, but there is a number in the upper left corner to help keep track of them all once the band is broken. The index included in both booklets has the words alphabetical in English, but gives the number on the card so they are easy to find.

We also received a little Survival Arabic Phrasebook & Dictionary: How to communicate without fuss or fear INSTANTLY! guidebook. My daughter loved the drawings inside, set up like comic strips, that showed various conversations. I loved how easy the words were to read and that many were in both Romanized form as well as authentic Arabic script to help with pronunciations.

Whether you decide to buy all four of these together, or each one alone, on your path to learning Arabic, they would make a great addition to any classroom or home use.

Cardboard Home Telescope {Tutorial} Plus {Review}

This recycled cardboard home telescope began it’s life as two paper towel rolls. We added some reading glasses and paint to make a homemade telescope just like the one Sadiq, the protagonist from Sadiq and the Desert Star, used to help him look for stars.

Sadiq and the Desert Star is a new book by Somali American Siman Nuurali and illustrated by Anjan Sarkar. It was published by Capstone and they recently sent me an advanced copy to enjoy.

My daughter read the story, and had lots of questions about Berbera, Somalia, where Sadiq was from. We learned it is a coastal city and was the most important place of trade in the entire Horn of Africa. Sadiq’s grandfather used the desert star to guide his caravan trips through the Sahara Desert.

After we spent some time learning about Berbera, my daughter gathered supplies to start her telescope right away. She wanted to see if she could really see Mars, just like Sadiq and his friends at the observatory.

Supplies

The first step my daughter took in making her own telescope is to cut one of the paper rolls lengthwise.

She took the cut paper roll and placed it inside the other tube.

Next, I helped my daughter pop out the glasses from their frame and she taped one to the end of the cut paper roll. She made sure to place the curved side facing the tube.

Once that end was secure, she did the same to the other end, but this time she made sure the curved side of the glass faced away from the cardboard.

Next we painted the tube with cardboard paint. You can use any paint you want, but we thought it might be fun to use chalkboard paint so that we could use chalk on the tube to write down what we saw.


We had a bit of a problem trying to paint over the tape that attach the glasses. I think when we make more telescopes for our upcoming space club, we will have everyone paint their tubes before taping on the glasses.

Now our telescope was ready. We wanted to take a photo in the daytime to show you what it looks like, but please never, ever use your telescope to look at the sun. This is dangerous and could really hurt your eyesight.

While she did love this book overall, she was confused as to why Sadiq’s mother and sister were wearing the hijab in the kitchen. Her own grandmother and aunt, who wear the hijab everyday, always take it off when they come home.

My daughter did love the facts about Somalia that was included, as well as the new Somali terms she got to practice. For example, in Somali, a grandfather is awoowe, but in Libyan we use jidu. I also loved the glossary in the back for the astronomy terms, plus the sections that encouraged kids to talk about and write down their thoughts about the book.

There are more Sadizq books coming out and my daughter can’t wait to read them:

To check out our other reviews of books, with craft tutorials, visit

Meet Yasmin {Book Review}

Naji and the Mystery of the Dig {Book Review}

Be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see hundreds of books lists and tutorials that teach about the Arab world and Muslim culture.

Pakistan Straw Topper Flag {Tutorial} Plus {Review}

I was recently sent the picture book Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly, from Capstone Publishing.

This fictional tale is about a spirited second grader named Yasim, who lives with a multi-generational Pakistani American family.  She has adventures as an explorer, a painter, a builder and a fashionista.

I took the book to my story time at the library and it got a room full of thumbs up. Everyone that attends is in age range of 4-6, so the book was perfect since the author suggests a range of 5-8.  I read them the chapter on  Yasmin being a painter.  We then talked about times we were in art class when we feel that we are not any good.  The kids loved that there was a person just like them, who feels that way about their artwork too.  It was such a great discussion about how art allows you to make mistakes.

While reading the story, I returned to talk about the word “jaan” in the chapter.  Yasmin’s mother says it to her and I shared the appendix in the back with the kids to show them what it means, life, and is used as a term of endearment in Urdu. I also showed the kids another page on Pakistan facts and a recipe for lassi, a yogurt drink.

When I got home, I shared the book with my teen, who wanted to try to make the lassi.

She had a little fun with the straw, by adding a Pakistan flag, based on our previous moon & star straw toppers.  There is an image of it in the back on the Pakistan facts page. The flag is a green field with a white crescent moon and five-rayed star at its center, and a vertical white stripe at the hoist side. Since the side of the flag is white, when she drinks the lassi, the clear straw also turns white.

The drink recipe only took a few minutes to make and was so yummy.

Lassi Ingredients

3 cups plain yogurt
2 cups milk
ice cubes
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

My daughter placed the ice in a blender first.

After crushing it, she added all the other ingredients.

After everything was pureed, we placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours to get cold.

While we were waiting for the lassi to get cold, we made a Pakistan flag with a few simple things we had around the house. Including a fun bottle of fabric paint I received as a Plaid Ambassador.

Supplies

Green felt
Fabric paint
Straw
Paintbrush
Scissors

My daughter started by cutting out a small flag shape from the green felt. It measured approximately 2 inches by 2 1/2 inches.

My daughter then used the scissors to cut out two slits for the straw to fit.

She used the fabric paint to create a stripe on the side of the flag, covering up the slits she just cut.

My daughter used the smallest brush we had, to create a small crescent moon and star shape on the side.

Once the Pakistan flag straw topper was dry, we used it to drink the cold lassi.

What a fun book Meet Yasmin! is and we are so happy to try a new drink.

Check out other book reviews that include crafts on the education page. Visit these other easy, multicultural kid recipes.

Eid Party Fruit Snack {Recipe}

Ramadan Man’ousheh Mini Bites {Recipe}

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