Archive | October 4, 2022

11 Words for Love

11 Words for Love

11 Words for Love











11 Words for Love

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Maxine Benebe Clarke

Lothian Children’s, 2022

32pp,, hbk., RRP $A24.99



There are eleven words for love, and my family knows them all.

A family flees their homeland to find safety in another country, carrying little more than a suitcase full of love.

As their journey unfolds, the oldest child narrates 11 meanings for love in Arabic as her family show, and are shown, all different kinds of love in their new home, and they also remember the love they have for their homeland and for those left behind or lost along the way.

This is a heartwarming book takes you on a journey through 11 of these Arabic expressions for love, at the same time telling the story of the family’s journey in the distinctive illustrations making the Arabic script immediately obvious even without the lyrical English translation.

While there might be over 50 words describing the degrees of love in the Arabic language, each pertaining to a different relationship, and there is seemingly only one in English for the same emotion, nevertheless there are many ways that we can show love without needing words.  

In 1970, the film Love Story (based on the book of the same name by Erich Segal) swept the world, inspiring a series of cartoons from New Zealand artist Kim Casali, the most famous being  “Love Is…being able to say you are sorry”, itself inspired by a line from the film “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” 

Use this book to inspire our students to think about the many ways they show and share love and how it is shown and shared with them, illustrating their statements for a display.  Apart from having them consider the meaning of the phrase “actions speak louder than words”, it will also help them understand that sometimes putting our feelings into words can be hard, particularly if we don’t have the words yet, but nevertheless we are loved.  Another step towards helping positive mental health.