The Day Saida Arrived

Here’s a really special book I’m recommending for Perfect Picture Book Friday about connecting across cultures, respect, empathy, and so much more. This book, a finalist for the Jane Addams award, should not be missed!

The winner of the giveaway for Cow Boy is Not a Cowboy by Gregory Barrington is Cathy Ballou Mealey! Congratulations!

9781733121255Title: The Day Saida Arrived

Written by: Susana Gomez Redondo

Illustrated by: Sonja Wimmer

Translated by: Lawrence Schimel

Blue Dot Kids Press, 2020

Suitable for ages: 5-12

Themes/topics: refugees, immigrants, culture, language, friendship



The day Saida arrived, it seemed to me that she had lost all her words. So, I tried to look for them in every

nook, cranny, corner, drawer, seam

to see if, between them and me, we might get rid of her tears and throw away her silence.


What happens when a new friend arrives who doesn’t speak your language? A young girl searches for the words to help her friend feel welcome and happy in her new home, and along the way learns about differences and similarities in countries and words. The two forge a strong bond while they each learn the other’s language, exploring the world around them.

Activities and Resources:

  • This book is the perfect opening to exploring another culture.
  • Read bilingual books.
  • Ask others who speak another language to teach you some words.
  • Practice writing numbers using another alphabet such as Arabic or Chinese.
  • Classrooms and schools can partner with another class or school in a different country to learn about each other.
  • Teacher’s Guide from the publisher

Why I REALLY like this book:

This book shows what always struck me as an ESL teacher – how much we can understand and communicate without words just based on our common humanity. In this story, a perceptive and caring child seeks to provide comfort, reaching across silences to provide comfort and build friendship. Such a great model for kids to see! The text presents the challenge of the language barrier in a really interesting way, and, as you can see by the cover, the art is special, too. Probably the most powerful aspect of the story is that, instead of just teaching the new girl English, the friend works to learn a new language, too, and the mutual efforts provide a strong and balanced connection across cultures, valuing both. This beautiful story presents a great example for engaging with others and true friendship.


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.

7 thoughts on “The Day Saida Arrived

  1. I JUST read this book last night! It’s gorgeous. And I, too, loved the way it shows how you can find ways to communicate when language differences erect a flimsy barrier. And then to take a step beyond that by learning about each other’s culture and language, as well. A great rec!

    Liked by 1 person

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