The Sandwich Swap was written by Her Majesty Queen Rania Alabdullah with Kelly DiPucchio and illustarted by Tricia Tusa. It was published in 2010 by Hyperion Books (Disney).
The Sandwich Swap is one of my all time favorite books. I've read it to my classes, I've read it to my children and I've read it to myself so often that I feel as though I could have it memorized by now. Although I know this story well and I have read it many times, I wanted to write about it so that I could share it with you.
The Sandwich Swap starts out as a simple story with few words on each page. There are two girls, Lily and Salma who enjoy spending time together. They draw, climb, play and eat together daily. The only difference is what they eat -- one loves peanut butter and jelly and the other enjoys hummus. Most days, they go about eating their own food, not telling the other that they think their food sounds disgusting. One day, though, the truth comes out. Lily tells Salma that she doesn't think her hummus looks very good, which hurts Salma's feelings. She imagined her mother working hard to make her lunch daily and took offense to what Lily said. To get even, Salma tells Lily that she thinks her sandwich looks gross. Lily imagines her father making her sandwich perfect daily, and also gets upset. The girls stop talking to each other and no longer play. As word gets out to the rest of the school, they start to take sides. Those who support Lily and the peanut butter sandwich start making fun of the Salma and her supports and vice versa. Eventually, it moves to calling each other names and hurting each other's feelings about a lot more than just the sandwiches they like, and a food fight erupts.
Lily and Salma watch as the other students take part in the food fight. They wonder how this started from the two of them not liking the other's sandwich. They end up making up and becoming friends again, and, with the help of their principal, organized a day where all of the students could bring food from their homeland.
I think I love this book so much because I am so about letting everyone be themselves. I think it's incredibly important to live and let live. We should be learning from each other and not judging each other for their decisions, no matter how significant that decision might be.
I'm so wrapped up in how much I love the theme of this book, I haven't even mentioned the illustrations. The colors are soft and muted throughout the book. The second and third page openings have full bleed illustrations of the girls playing together. There are no sharp lines or harsh colors throughout the book, but there are many shadows throughout the book. The illustrator draws light and inviting pictures to draw the reader in.
I highly recommend this book as a great lesson in diversity and acceptance within the classroom. Students will learn that small differences don't mean that you cannot be friends with one another and that there is no need to make fun of others.