Review: The Sandwich Swap, by Rania Al-Abdullah and illustrated by Tricia Tusa

TSSReview by John Callahan

How much can you learn about someone through their choice of sandwich? Quite a lot!

Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah’s The Sandwich Swap is a picture book for kindergarten and early grade readers. Lily and Salma are best friends, who always have each other’s back. Until the fateful day they noticed each other’s sandwiches. Lily with a peanut butter and jelly, and Salma with a hummus and pita sandwich. Both girls are repulsed by the other’s sandwich choices and their friendship is all but over. As the school forms teams around the differing sandwich choices, and everything from food fights to name-calling ensues. Will Lily and Salma be able to overcome their differences, or will the sandwich choices prove too much?

The Sandwich Swap is a funny and enjoyable piece of children’s literature as it shows children how differences in cultures can be strengthening, even if appearing strange at the outset. It challenges us to think about how even the small things can be used to hurt or bring people together, and it invites young readers to learn more about those who may be different from them. The Sandwich Swap is a great read for young readers, and a great piece of entry-level multicultural literature to get children to start thinking of a perspective besides their own.

The Sandwich Swap. (2010). Rania Al-Abdullah and illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Hyperion. 32 pgs.

John is currently pursing his teaching license and M.Ed in English education at the University of Minnesota. He loves all sandwiches, but would probably take a nice turkey and swiss over either of the sandwiches in this book.

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