Queen Rania turns down several offers to publish a Hebrew version of her children’s book

July 15, 2010

Jordan’s Queen Rania has turned down a Hebrew translation of a children’s book she recently wrote.

The book, “The Sandwich Swap”, is published for children aged four to eight and was co-written with Kelly DiPucchio.

However, Israeli daily Haaretz did not mention the source of the claim or the reasons why the queen has rejected several offers to publish a Hebrew version.

During a promotional campaign for the book, Queen Rania described it as the story of two girls who let the food they bring to school get in the way of their friendship. They disparage each other’s food based on their own cultural preconceptions. The two main characters, Lily and Salma, have a lot in common, but not when it comes to their sandwiches: Lily prefers the all-American peanut butter and jelly, while Salma sticks to pita and hummus.

The two learn how to maintain their friendship, despite their cultural differences, but not without a food fight at school in which their classmates take sides. The confrontation ends, however, with a party at which the children exchange sandwiches. The book’s message touches open such issues as getting to know others, openness and multiculturalism.

The book was launched in April with a reading given by Rania at the United Nations and was on the New York Times’ bestseller list of children’s picture books. Its promotion in the United States included appearances by the Jordanian queen in television interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters.

Queen Rania was born into a family of Palestinian origin and studied in the multicultural atmosphere of an English-speaking school in Kuwait. In an interview she gave after the book was published, she said the story had been influenced by her own childhood, and that her own mother in fact sent her to school with hummus and pita sandwiches. Queen Rania also described the first time she saw a classmate eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Since 2007, Queen Rania has been working with UNICEF on child welfare issues and as honourary chairwoman of the UN’s effort to promote the education of girls.

“The Sandwich Swap” has been published in English and the queen’s website notes that proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Madrasati Jordan, an education initiative launched by Queen Rania to renovate and better the learning environment in 500 public schools.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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