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Yaffa and Fatima cover art

Yaffa and Fatima

By: Fawzia Gilani-Williams
Narrated by: Book Buddy Digital Media
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Publisher's Summary

Two neighbors - one Jewish, one Muslim - have always been best friends. When they both fall on hard times, can they find a way to help each other? In Fawzia Gilani's retelling of this folktale - which has both Jewish and Arab origins - differences are not always causes for conflict and friendship can overcome any obstacle.

Please note: The original source audio for this production includes noise/volume issues. This is the best available audio from the publisher.

©2017 Fawzia Gilani-Williams (P)2020 Lerner Digital ™

Critic Reviews

"Yaffa and Fatima are neighbors in the Land of Milk and Honey, where each tends her own date grove. Every day they pick and sell their dates, cook and share tasty foods, and pray to God - Yaffa in the synagogue and Fatima in the mosque. When hard times come, they worry about the other's welfare, and when they realize that each has been secretly sharing with the other, they are grateful for their friendship. Inspired by traditional Jewish and Arab tales that usually feature brothers, as in Neil Waldman's The Two Brothers: A Legend of Jerusalem (1997), this female-oriented story is told in folkloric style, adding a multicultural emphasis not present in the originals. Yaffa and Fatima both observe their own cultural and linguistic traditions, but that never prevents them from appreciating their differences and caring about the other. Fedele's artwork features earth tones (appropriate to the arid climate) accented in teal (for Yaffa) and red (for Fatima). A timeless story, this tale makes its point without ever becoming didactic." (Booklist Online)

"In this retelling of a tale rooted in both Jewish and Arab traditions, two neighbors are friends despite perceived religious tensions of the community. Yaffa and Fatima both own date groves right next door to each other. They share meals and talk and laugh. When Fatima sees Yaffa on the street, she waves and calls, 'Salaam! Peace!' Yaffa waves back and calls, 'Shalom! Peace!' The text becomes a list of differences between the two women.... Gilani-Williams never distinctly references any conflict - in fact, even the Israeli setting is not specifically mentioned, only to call it the 'Land of Milk and Honey'. But readers can tell, because differences very much define the women's relationship, that they are overcoming some sort of obstacle in being friends. A subtle, visually arresting introduction to ethnic relations." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Based on an old folktale with both Jewish and Arabic 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." (Jewish Book Council)

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.