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A Review of

Grandma Hekmatt Remembers

by Ann Morris




A real-life Egyptian woman who now lives in the U.S. shares with her young granddaughters information about Egyptian culture. Cover



Fact Sheet


Grandma Hekmatt Remembers


Ann Morris




Millbrook Press


Non-Fiction: Near Eastern Culture
Non-Fiction: For Children



Number of Pages


Published In


Reading Level

Ages 4-8




This children's book is part of a series designed to teach children about cultures other than their own. The series, titled, "What Was It Like, Grandmother?" consists of books exploring a number of varied cultures found in the U.S., including Native American, African-American, Hispanic, Egyptian, British, Jewish, and Chinese.

In this book, Grandma Hekmatt Remembers, the author shows a glimpse of an actual Egyptian-American family.

The book explores the activities that three young children enjoy with their grandmother. Some of the activities would be familiar to families of any culture, such as the children helping their grandmother straighten up the house after a visit, while others are specific to the family's culture. Some of the activities include teaching the children to write the Arabic alphabet, baking cookies together, belly dancing, showing the children items in the home that were brought back from Egypt, and talking about what it was like to grow up in Egypt.

The book includes some general cultural information about Egypt and Islam as well as talking about this family's specific experience. The cultural information is fairly superficial - children would probably find it informative, but adult readers probably wouldn't learn much new information from it.

The book contains many full-color photos. Some of these are archival photos from the family album, while others were taken by a hired photographer specifically for the purpose of illustrating this book. Almost every page includes at least one full-color photo.

One page of the book is dedicated to showing how to fold a piece of paper to make a boat that can be floated in the bathtub. Another page contains suggestions for children on things they can do with their own grandparents as a means of getting to know them better.

A glossary at the end of the book lists the Arabic words that were introduced. These include words such as Ramadan, Islam, hejab, hamsa, and others.



Is It Right for You?


You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • You would like to learn more about the culture of the region in which belly dancing originated.
  • You enjoy learning about other cultures.
  • You are looking for a culture- or dance-related book you can read to a group of children in conjunction with an event you are organizing.
  • You are looking for a culture- or dance-related book you can give as a gift to a child in your life.


This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You have no interest in chlidren's books.
  • You're not interested in books about Near Eastern culture.



What I Liked, What I Didn't


What I Liked:

  • The story focuses on a real family, rather than being fictional.
  • The book offers a combination of both general information about Egypt and specifics about the family.
  • There are 36 full-color photos, which means nearly every page contains at least one photo, and some contain more than one.
  • One page offers illustrated instructions for a craft project that could be used if providing entertainment for children at an event.
  • The book provides suggestions for children on how to get to know their own grandmothers better.


What I Didn't Like:

  • The book was shorter than I would have preferred, although admittedly it's probably the right length for the intended age group.




This book succeeds at what it intends to do - providing young children glimpses into the family life of a culture that may be different from their own. It keeps the focus on information that would fit with children's interests. I would recommend it either as a gift for a child, or for reading aloud when needing to provide an activity for children.




There is nothing to disclose. I have never had any contact with anyone associated with this book.



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